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Front view of a bishop, from the Lewis Chesspieces

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found at Uig Bay, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides

Front view of a bishop, from the Lewis Chesspieces
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This is one of 16 bishops 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 bishop is shown blessing with his right hand and holding a crosier in his left. His vestments accurately reflect those worn by a 12th-century bishop.

Since early medieval times, the crosier has been the symbol of the bishop. The staff of the crosier was made of wood, while its rolled head was usually made of precious metals or ivory.

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