"chess set", "chess sets", "chess pieces", "chess museum", "schaak"

Nigeria  (Africa)

Nigeria (Benin Plain/III 2021). This cutting art from thornwood has been started in 1930 in Owo, Nigeria, by Justus Dojomo Akeredolu, craft teacher at a public school. To learn his pupils the cutting art he took the thorns of the silk cotton tree, a wood which is easy to cut and suitable for small details. Today it is a narrative cutting art of detail and ability, showing daily performances of life. The thorns have shades of golden yellow to chocolate brown and skilled cutters use that to create special effects. I have never seen thornwood sets painted. These sets are made by the Yoruba for the tourist market, I believe. This pattern and monoblock type of set is quite rare.

« of 9 »
  • Nigeria, after J. Dojomo Akeredolu
  • ca. 1980
  • Thornwood K 5.4; p 3.0-3.3
  • Box 10.5×20.0×9.6
« of 3 »
  • Nigeria, Lagos, after J. Dojomo Akeredolu
  • 1986
  • Thornwood K 5.9; p 3.7

Plain/III 2021 mentions Benin, because of the Oba, but 2nd set was bought in Lagos. In the original design represents white the Yoruba and black the Hausa. The white King is an Oba, with veiled dressing. The Oba of Benin is the traditional ruler and the custodian of the culture of the Edo people and all Edoid people. Also the black King, an emir, has a veiled dressing. In the later version, of which 2 examples are listed above, is the original topic no longer understood. The distinction between the two parties is gone. The King is carried out as a man with crown or hat. The better carved 1st set has a woman veiled in dressing, exactly as the Oba in the original design, but now as Queen. A change of persons has taken place here! It's box has an Oba in relief outstretched on the cover.

Nigeria. These are rather common sets made of thornwood. In this kind of sets are the pieces made in parts that are glued together, creating more colourful pieces. They are not painted or so.

« of 5 »
  • Nigeria, by Yoruba
  • 1960s-1980s
  • Thornwood K 8.0; p 5.2
« of 4 »
  • Nigeria, by Yoruba
  • Late 20th century
  • Thornwood K 9.6; p 5.6
  • Board 31.9×31.1