The Lewis Chess Pieces
The Lewis Chess Pieces were found buried in a sand dune on the Isle of Lewis off the West Coast of Scotland in 1831. The pieces date from around 1150 and are the finest examples of chess pieces to have survived from the Middle Ages. They are thought to have originated from Norway. The chess pieces were carved from the tusks of walruses and are ivory and deep red in colour. 78 of the chess pieces are known to exist today and they may have belonged to four or more chess sets. 67 of the pieces are in the British Museum and the rest are in the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh.

The chess pieces vary in size and every piece has been carved differently. There are 8 kings, 8 queens, 16 bishops, 15 knights, 12 rooks (castles) and 19 pawns. Each king and queen sits on a finely carved throne and wears a crown. The bishops are either sitting on thrones or standing, some are holding a book whilst others have their right hand raised in blessing. The knights are on horseback and, like the rooks, they are armed with a spear, a sword and a shield.