East India Company ("John Company") Set circa 1830

 
     
     
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AN EAST INDIA (JOHN COMPANY) IVORY CHESS SET, Berhempore, circa 1830

Click here for several detailed photos of this set

Click here for a fascinating comparison of two John Company sets: 1805 (5.5" King) and 1830 (4.5" King)

One side with black stained bases, the other side left natural, the British East India Company versus Native troops, the pieces on bases with tongue and dart carving, kings as elephants with covered howdahs, two princes within the howdah, the elephant handler astride the animal's neck; queens similar but with open howdahs and bearing flags, bishops as camels with handlers astride, white knights as lions, black knights as buffalo, white rooks as fortified turrets with footsoldiers bearing red flags, black rooks as ogee topped pavilions with footsoldiers bearing green flags, white pawns as British sepoys wearing pearls around their necks and presenting muskets, black pawns as native troops holding spears aloft and armed with shields, pistols and swords, the king 12.5cm high, the pawn 8.5cm high.

These chess sets depict the extent of British colonialism before the Indian Mutiny of 1857 led to the imposition of direct rule from London. One side represents the East India Company (nicknamed "John"), while the other side represents Indian or troops under the command of local rulers. The East India pawns are Indian born sepoys in British uniform, with pearls around their necks.

Click here for my Picasa album with photos of this set

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