German Chess Sets

The collection does not include any actual chess sets from Germany; however, in 1980 photographs of three antique chess sets now in German museums were donated to complement the collection. The following are copies of these photographs along with the information about these sets.

Mother of Pearl chess board


The photograph above is of a 33.5cm square chess board that was crafted between 1560 and 1580 in southern Germany. It now resides in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich. Alternate squares feature illustrations of either a person, flower, animal, or geometric design. The outside border includes designs of armor, people, weapons, or musical instruments. The board is made of pearwood, horn, bone, mother-of-pearl, ivory, and brass.

Fluted German chess board

The above pictured board was made either in southern Germany or Vienna about 1710. It was part of the estate of Amalie (1701-1756) a daughter of Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria at the time. The board now resides in The Residenz Museum in Munich. The board is 31cm square with a scroll-like black frame and a gold overlay of human and animal figures. There is silver filigree between the 8x8 playing matrix and the surrounding frame. On the playing matrix, the black cells have silver geometric designs. On the alternate cells, there are inlaid designs of birds and animals.

German board with pieces

This third board is thought to be made in southern Germany by Johann Joachim Kaendler between 1740 and 1750. It is now in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich. The 8x8 chess board sits on top of a box that is 32.5cm long by 24cm wide. In the box, under the board, is a drawer which holds the playing pieces.

Last update February 15, 2010