I have had a bit of writer’s block today. I wanted to write something that I was passionate about, something i could get excited about and i was coming up against a brick wall time and time again. Lots of lovely things, some interesting developments in David’s Tower at Edinburgh Castle (http://heritage.scotsman.com/heritage/Edinburgh-Castle-uncovered-Exploring-the.6711347.jp), lots of great places to see and stay but somehow my heart wasn’t engaged with any of it at the moment.
however, then i found my old friends, the Lewis Chessmen who i am fanatically interested in. they are now being shown at the Shetland Museum and Archives from Friday 21 January – Sunday 27 March 2011 and it is FREE! fantastic, now if only i lived a bit closer to the Shetland Islands.
it appears that there are four sets of the Chessmen in a hoard of 93 pieces, including kings, queens, bishops, knights, warders and pawns. National Museums Scotland owns 11 pieces, including …
1. a king on his throne, looking unhappy and holding a scabbard across his knees.
2. another king with an open four-trefoiled crown and his hair in long braids down his back. wearing a long mantle and underneath, he is dressed in a tunic and vestment with sleeves and slit sides.
3. a disgruntled-looking queen seated on a throne and cradling her chin with her right hand, while holding a drinking horn in her left hand.
4. another queen, this time wearing a veil beneath a crown that covers her hair and she is sitting on a throne decorated with delicate foliage design.
5. a bishop standing while giving a blessing with his right hand. he is wearing a mitre on his head and holding a crosier in his left hand.
6. another bishop wearing a floor-length cape over his shoulders (one similiar to those worn by the clergy today).
7. a berserker who, according to Old Norse literature, was notorious as fighting uncontrollably in a trance-like state. he has bulging staring eyes and bites his shield in anger, ready for battle.
8. a knight, wearing a protective coat, divided at the front and back for ease of movement. he is carrying a kite-shaped shield and a lance. he is also sitting on a horse, which appears to be the size of a Shetland pony.
i was also quite chuffed to find an online store where you can buy all sorts of gifts related to these lovely little people http://shop.nms.ac.uk/categories/Gifts/Lewis-Chessmen. there are full chess sets, single full replica pieces, books, bottle stops, key chains and for those of us who are a bit limited in cash, 50p will buy you a postcard (as shown above).
website for more info is http://www.nms.ac.uk/our_museums/national_museum/special_exhibitions/lewis_chessmen_tour.aspx or you can click on my Tags under “Lewis Chessmen” as i’ve written a couple of other posts on them.