Lot #675. Michelangelo Mammoth Ivory Chessmen by Oleg Raikis


The beautifully hand-carved Michelangelo Mammoth Ivory Chessmen, signed by Oleg Raikis. Crafted from 20,000-year-old natural and polished Woolly Mammoth tusk mounted atop contrasting wooden plinths. The King stands 6-0″ tall by 1-3/4″..

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Michelangelo Mammoth Ivory Chessmen by Oleg Raikis.

Offered here is a most original and captivating set of figural chessmen, the beautifully hand-carved Michelangelo Mammoth Ivory Chessmen, signed by the sculptor. The chess pieces are Crafted from 20,000-year-old natural and polished Woolly Mammoth tusk and are surmounted atop contrasting wooden plinths. The base plinths for the dark army bases are crafted from Bokaut, a dense, exotic wood indigenous to Russia and East Asia. A statuesque set of chess pieces, it features a 6-0″ King with figures mounted on a 1-3/4″ square plinth. The workmanship and detail found in each of these sculptures is breathtaking. The Chess pieces are hand carved and signed “Raikis 03” by crafted by renowned Mammoth artist and sculptor Oleg Raikis. Raikis’ chess carvings are internationally recognized and are highly prized and sought-after by chess collectors Worldwide. This set was custom created with the work stretching over about to a year to complete. Mammoth tusk is a naturally dense material, so the chess pieces do not require additional weighting.

The Michelangelo Mammoth Ivory Chessmen consist of 32 pieces. and are in new condition. The chess pieces play and display best on a chessboard with 3-0″ to 3-1/4″ squares. For our extensive selection of modern and antique chessboards please visit here.

 History Of The Chess Pieces.

The Mammoth byproducts are excavated from the permafrost of the Siberian tundra, which the woolly mammoth inhabited for more than 160,000 years. During the last ice age, the mammoth went extinct as the direct result of rapidly plummeting temperatures. The dry, cold environment of Siberia combined with the massive sheets of ice from the ice age created the ideal environment for the preservation of Mammoth byproducts. The woolly Mammoths have been entombed under the Siberian permafrost ever since, waiting to be unearthed.

For more than 2,000 years, Mammoth tusks have been traded and remain a highly prized commodity across the world. While that demand for the Mammoth byproducts has always been higher than its supply, it began its steep rise when the international ivory ban was enacted. This agreement banned all sales of new Elephant or Walrus Ivory, in an effort to protect the animals from extinction. As a result, Mammoth became the only type of animal-based ivory that is exempt from the international trade restrictions. Over the past few years, the price of Mammoth tusks has more than tripled, due largely to the unprecedented demand for luxury goods from such emerging countries as India and China. This trend is expected to continue. Less than one percent of the Mammoth byproducts harvested are of suitable quality for the manufacturing of Chess pieces, thus adding the production costs and long-term value.

About the Sculptor.

Oleg Raikis has a strong affinity with chess, having been an ambitious tournament player in his youth. His love for the game is now an inspiration for his art. Aside from his sculptures, Oleg has designed and created many chess sets. They combine the creative imaginative skill of a master craftsman with the understanding of the practical requirements needed for a set of chessmen to be acceptable as an efficient tool for an ancient Royal game.  Oleg Raikis’ impressive sculptures, carved from hard woods and mammoth ivory, were displayed in the international exhibition, ‘Sculptor 1991’. Since then, his work has been constantly on show, including exhibiting in Galleries in Germany, Britain and the States.  Oleg is a member of Russian Federation of Artists, International Federation of Art and Chess Collectors International.

Oleg’s artistic and practical chess sets have been much admired within the international chess collector community, where they take a proud place in collections in Russia, the USA. Canada, Germany, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, and England. You are not likely to see contemporary chess set designs equal to the work of Oleg Raikis.

Additional information

Weight18 lbs
Dimensions16 × 16 × 12 in

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