Project Description

A Cambodian Ivory Chess Piece Adapted as a Netsuke

A chess knight, the globular truncated body incised with stiff leaves. Cut as a seal beneath with formalised characters, dark stained from use. The ivory is somewhat worn and bears a fine, rich patina

Unsigned. Circa 1750

Height: 4.1 cm


W.L. Behrens collection, Joly cat. no. 2723, illustrated on pl. XXXIV

Anonymous sale, Nagel, 16th November 1996, lot 1000

Anonymous sale from a European Private Collection, Bonhams London,  8th May 2016, lot 25

In Indo-Chinese chess sets the knight is the only figural piece, the rest being abstract, and the pawns being shells. It would have appealed to the Japanese Edo sense of the exotic, and the shape lends itself to being cut and used as a seal