Rajasthan Royal Family Chess Set of Bone, Silver, and Pearls, 1873

 
     
     
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Extraordinary chess set of a royal family in Rajasthan, dated 1873.

This chess set is complete in that it comprises the textile board and the chessmen both dated. The height of the king is approx. 18.4 cm and the total weight comes to 9 kg comprising about 2 kg of silver work. All chessmen bear plenty of fairly big pearls, which must be natural pearls possibly from Basrah (Persian gulf).

The chessmen are made of bone. The parties are in brownish red (Hindu) and dark green (Muslim). The chess set follows the Indian tradition: There is no queen but an adviser (wesir) and the officers are elephants, horses and camels.

The chess set was made by order of the king of Sirohi in the year of samvat 1930 which corresponds to 1873 AD to commemorate an event which happened approx. 100 years earlier (end of 18th century):
Soldiers of the Nawab of Tonk, the only Muslim ruler in Rajasthan robbed the treasures of the king of Sirohi, which were on the way from Kota. The army of Sirohi supported by other Rajput (Hindu) states attacked the Nawab of tonk who surrendered.

The name of the king of Sirohi who had the chess set made is Maharaja Abhey Singh and the artist's name is Daud from Udaipur/Mewar state according to inscriptions on the kings as well as on the textile board. The chess set was given to the daughter of the Sirohi king Abhey Singh as a dowry, when she was married to a prince of Udaipur.

The Hindu king has an inscription on the king in Devanagari script indicating the king's name, the artist's name and the date. The Muslim king has also an inscription in Devanagari and Arabic script.

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