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Erzgebirge Set, mid 20th Century

A figural chess set made in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountain) region in South-East Germany in the second half of the 20th century. The pieces with a king size of 13.4 cm were carved with a lot of attention to detail in the traditional folk art style typical for this region from a rather light and soft wood, probably some type of pine.

One side with a light yellowish lacquer, the other side predominantly lacquered in brown. The kings with an upright crown and large crosses in the Borstendorf style, wearing a robe and holding a long sword to the ground. The queens with a gown and wavy hair. The bishops as messengers holding a parchment (which indicates their connection to the German chess tradition in which the bishop is called "Läufer", which in this case means messenger). The knights as rearing horses. The rooks as multi tiered towers with windows and brickwork ornaments.

The highlight are the pawns, which are shown as heavily bearded and grim looking armed peasants, each of which is made in a different style and carrying some kind of weapon, including axes, daggers, maces and scythes.

Many thanks to Holger Langer for the photos and the description.

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