Cover image for The art of chess
The art of chess
Schafroth, Colleen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : H.N. Abrams, [2002]

Physical Description:
175 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1317 .S32 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GV1317 .S32 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This is the story of chess, illustrated with pictures of historic chess pieces from an international array of sources. Besides the chess pieces themselves, there are objects, manuscripts and paintings depicting chess games in action.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Historian Schafroth offers an engaging history of the game of chess. She traces its migration from India and/or China to Persia and Europe via the Islamic world, noting how the design of the pieces was influenced by each culture. Polytheistic India created floridly representational figures, while Islamic disapproval of the human image resulted in the sculpting of more abstract pieces. In this contextual vein, Schafroth's pictured sets include a Soviet porcelain ensemble pitting capitalists against proletarians, and many modeled on medieval society's knights, bishops, and peons. The craftsmanship of these sets is another focus of the album: carved from bone, ivory, and crystal, chess sets were menageries of statuary for the kings who ordered them. As the game gained in popularity, the design of its pieces became more functional: the Staunton design, with its iconic horse head for the knight, dates from the mid-1800s. The handsome photographs in Schafroth's showcase will hold chess lovers rapt. Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

Stunningly intricate chess pieces from as early as the 10th century are on display in The Art of Chess, Maryhill Museum of Art director Colleen Schafroth's beautifully illustrated homage to one of the world's oldest and most popular pastimes. Schafroth traces the evolution of the game from its origins in India, to its first golden age under the Arab caliphate, to the birth of the (much faster) modern version in 15th-century Europe. Photos of chessmen from around the world include an ivory Inuit set featuring igloos and seals, and a Soviet version that pits capitalists (and their enchained pawns) against the vigorous country lads who represent the Soviets. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved