Front view of a warder from the Lewis Chesspieces

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Postcard of Front view of a warder from the Lewis Chesspieces.
© National Museums Scotland

Front view of a warder from the Lewis Chesspieces

This is one of twelve 'warders' known to have been amongst a hoard of around 80 chesspieces found in the winter of 1830-1 at Uig Bay on Lewis. The walrus ivory pieces were made in Iceland or Norway in the second half of the 12th century. The group is known as 'The Lewis Chessmen.'

The photograph shows the front of the piece. The warder is wearing a helmet and a thick padded coat and is holding a sword and shield. He is biting the shield in the manner of a Norse 'berserker'.

The warder could be moved in the same way as the modern rook or castle - any number of spaces forwards, backwards or to the side.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-001-637-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.NS 29
Date: 12th century
Late 12th century
Material: Walrus ivory
Dimensions: 60 - 100 mm H
What: Chessman
Subject: Sports (NMAS Classification)
Where: Scotland, Ross and Cromarty, Lewis, Uig
Description: Chesspiece of walrus ivory, a berserker, found in an underground chamber in the parish of Uig, Lewis in 1831: Scandinavian in origin, late 12th century
  • 'The Lewis Chesspieces' multimedia programme NMS 1995 
  • Taylor, M. The Lewis Chessmen. London: British Museum Press, 1978 
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