Inventory no.: 1893

Vizagapatam Ivory Chess Set


Fine Ivory, Horn & Sandalwood Chess Set & Table

Vizagapatam, India

circa 1870

height of table: 22.5cm, diameter of table: 28cm, height of tallest chess piece: 3.5cm

This very fine, miniature games table has an octagonal top of sandalwood overlaid with finely cut and pierced ivory and with a central chequerboard of alternating ivory and horn plaques. The ivory fretwork around the sides includes four medallion disks that have been engraved with Hindu-god figures and infilled with black lac highlighting.

The edge of the top is overlaid with ivory that has been engraved with meandering floral and leaf patterns similarly highlighted with lac.

The top screws, via brass fittings, onto a baluster stem of horn with applied ivory studs.

The stem rises from a round sandalwood base overlaid with horn and decorated with more ivory fretwork and engraved ivory straps. The base sits on three zoomorphic carved ivory feet.

The chess set itself is of finely carved miniature ivory chessmen. One side is of plain ivory; the other has been stained red.

The table and set are in excellent condition. There are no losses to the set or the table.

The table and set are from Vizagapatam, a city on India’s Coromandel Coast between Calcutta and Madras. The city became an important manufacturing centre for luxury goods intended for the European market, thanks to a cabinet making workshop first established there by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the late seventeenth century, and later to trade fostered by the British East India Company.

to see a related, if later, example.


Jaffer, A.,

Furniture from British India and Ceylon: A Catalogue of the Collections in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum, Timeless Books, 2001.

Jaffer, A.,

Luxury Goods from India: The Art of the Indian Cabinet Maker, V&A Publications, 2002.


UK art market

Inventory no.: 1893