Chess piece, carved ivory

Chess piece, carved ivory

Chess piece
Carved ivory
Germany
16th century
Museum no. 2998-1856

This carved ivory chess piece shows a knight on horseback. The origins behind the game of chess are unclear, but it is recorded as early as the 6th century in India, China and Iran. It is generally believed that chess originated as a game of imaginary warfare, enabling players to test and enhance their strategic powers. The move of each of the pieces are also thought to reflect battle tactics. In battle (before the age of mechanical warfare), the cavalry would never advance head on, instead they mounted their attack from the side. This mirrors the move of the knight in the game of chess.