Extremely Rare Early Islamic Rock Crystal Chess piece c1000AD Fatimid Egypt
July 4, 2021
Extremely Rare Early Islamic Rock Crystal Chess piece c1000AD Egypt. We are delighted to offer this rare and early Islamic rock crystal deeply carved chess or gaming piece 9th-11th Century. This delightful and rare rock crystal chess piece is very tactile and is beautifully carved. The deeply carved bevelled cuts have a’u’ shape and the overall appearance is very pleasing. There is a horizontal stepped cut at the base and it has been suggested that a band of gold or silver would have been around this section to differentiate the two sides in a chess game (see Al Sabah Catalogue of Early Islamic Chess and Gaming Pieces by Deborah Freeman Fahid, London 2018). Rock crystal has long been surrounded by mystery and myths with Bishops instructing crusaders to leave everything behind except rock crystal vessels during the medieval wars. This is how various rock crystal pieces ended up in Cathedrals throughout Europe in the Middle Ages (see Fahid, 2018). Rock crystal was thought to have magical properties such as changing colour if the liquid poured into it was poisoned. Chess is known as the Game of Kings as who else had the time and felt secure enough to play such an absorbing game in ancient times. Ancient chess and gaming pieces were made for the elite in society and the materials, amount of carving involved reflected this. Early Islamic chess pieces have a track record for attracting record amounts when they come up for sale. The Sotheby’s example is very similar apart from the additional design elements such as the vertical hatching which would mark it out as the’King’. This piece has been in the same private collection for several decades, safely stored in a display cabinet. It is housed in a purpose made domed wooden box that is over 200 years old with a collector’s label on the underside from the same period. The name on the label is from a collector who lived in England and who is recorded in the 1771 population census (full details on request). This piece stands just 4cm in height but is a true heavyweight among ancient chess pieces. There is some wear such as small chips around the piece as shown on the images above. This beautifully carved piece also has some minor inclusions in the crystal that can be seen from the underside. However, this piece is around 95% clear and has no internal fissures which are often found in this type of carved rock crystal. From a Private North of England Collection. Viewing is strictly by appointment and a minimum of 48 hours notice is required as no items are stored on site. All of our Islamic Art is guaranteed to be genuine and as described. We also further guarantee that our artefacts are legitimately sourced. TERMS & CONDITIONS OF SALE. Cheques only acceptable from UK Banks in sterling. Please DO NOT leave your questions until the last couple of hours of the listing! All dimensions and measurements are approximate. Otherwise, do not expect an item to be covered for any loss or damage. The item “Extremely Rare Early Islamic Rock Crystal Chess piece c1000AD Fatimid Egypt” is in sale since Saturday, June 26, 2021. This item is in the category “Antiques\Asian/Oriental Antiques\Islamic/Middle Eastern”. The seller is “islamiqueantiques_dot_com” and is located in Bradford. This item can be shipped worldwide.