ANTIQUE MACAO IVORY FIGURAL CHESS SET
A Macao ivory figural bust chess set, one of the most important Chinese sets for any collection and we offer one of the best we have seen, with a 4 inch king, it is regarded as a large example of its type and the quality of the carving is very fine indeed.
One of the great assets of these handsome sets is that they are designed as ornaments for any home of style. This is exactly as they were perceived in the grand 19th century homes unlike the European playing sets which were designed to be boxed and put way when not in use.
To any collector of chess sets there are three key categories:
1) Playing 2) Decorative 3) Figural
Generally, by far the most desirable to collectors and non-collectors are the figural which for fine quality sets start at several thousand pounds and rise to perhaps as much as half a million and more for the finest Augsburg sets.
Ivory has always been the material of choice worldwide for the best sets and fashioned at a time when ivory shortage was not an issue, they can represent the most exquisite historical reminder of the stunning skills of the ivory turners and carvers across the globe.
China during the 18th and 19th centuries was home to master craftsmen comparable to those in the ivory carving centres in Europe (Augsburg, St Petersburg, Dieppe, Paris, London) and India, and many of the finest figural chess sets were made for the European market between the mid 1750’s and the late 1900’s.