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Lewis Chessmen

Lewis-chessmen08One of the most famous of the early medieval exhibits from the museum is the Lewis chessmen. 93 separate pieces, in a variety of sizes, were discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis, hidden, presumably, by someone who was trading the sets. These 93 are now split between the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

They’re exquisitely carved, with some wonderful details and are made mainly of walrus ivory – from the tusks of the walrus – with a few that are carved whales’ teeth. Continue reading