Malawi  (Africa)

Malawi has several larger workshops, where, among other things, chess sets are made. Munger/I 1996 describes four main centres, all in the south and all carvers are Yao. Plain/III 2021 describes sets made by Chewa people with tribal theme and rarely seen sets from Lomwe people with an animal theme. Munger/I 1996 lists following woods for light side: kadale, mpasa, bwemba (red) and mkomwa and for dark side: mphingo and msumwa. These woods are very hard and it is amazing that they can carve that beautiful in it. The quality of the carving is often above average, according African standards of course. I do like these African sets very much.

The origin of the 1st set is an estimate of me, but I'm pretty sure it is from Malawi. Unsure about makers. The age is more reliable. Very nice feature are the babies at the back of the Queens.

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  • Malawi
  • 1960-1980
  • Wood K 10.9; p 3.8

Next 4 sets are all of the Chewa tribe type. An uncle of my wife lived and worked for 50 years in Malawi, and he brought the first 2 of these 4 sets to the Netherlands. The actual age of these 2 sets is probably older as indicated. I have forgotten to ask and now it is too late.

« of 4 »
  • Malawi, by Chewa
  • ca. 1970
  • Ivory K1 7.1; p1 4.8; K2 8.7; p2 6.0
« of 4 »
  • Malawi, by Chewa
  • 1970
  • Wood K 8.8; p 3.8
  • Board 35.0×35.0
« of 3 »
  • Malawi, by Chewa
  • 1970
  • Wood K 10.9; p 5.2-5.6
  • Board 37.1×37.2
« of 4 »
  • Malawi, by Chewa
  • 1980
  • Ivory + African blackwood K 7.1; p 4.0
  • Board 32.2×32.1