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Chess piece

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This king is perhaps the only remaining piece of an unusually elaborate early Romanesque chess set of walrus ivory. The figure is seated in a high-backed throne and holds in his right hand the hair of a warrior in mail who stretches out in submission. The throne back is decorated with...

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Provenance

Probably until 1952, David David-Weill (b. 1871 - d. 1952), Neuilly-sur-Seine, France [see note 1]; 1952, probably by descent to his widow, Mme. David-Weill [see note 2]; June 16, 1971, David David-Weill sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, lot 74. By 1973, John Goelet, New York; 1973, gift of John Goelet to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 10, 1973) NOTES: [1] David David-Weill was an important figure in the art world, forming a large collection of paintings, sculpture, and other works of art, as well as serving as the President du Conseil des Musées de France. When France fell to Germany in 1940, David-Weill fled Paris. At this time, much of his collection was seized by the Nazis. Many of these objects were returned to him following the war. It has not yet been determined whether this object was among the items looted from David-Weill's collection. However, the fact that it was among the articles auctioned from his estate in 1971 indicates that if it had been seized, it was properly restituted. [2] In 1971, following the death of Mr. David-Weill's widow, over 500 objects from his collection were sold.

Credit Line

Gift of John Goelet

Scandinavian (possibly Denmark), Medieval, early 12th century

Object Place

Scandinavia (possibly Denmark)

Dimensions

6.4 x 3.5 x 5.4 cm (2 1/2 x 1 3/8 x 2 1/8 in.)

Accession Number

1973.522

Medium or Technique

Ivory, eyes inlaid with blue glass

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Tools & equipment, Recreational