Americas


Argentina. This is an interesting set, purchased during the 1978 Olympiad in Buenos Aires. The white pieces consist of indigenous Indians. The black are the Spanish rulers supported by latin people.

« 1 of 4 »
  • Argentina
  • 1978
  • Ceramic/resin? K 10.8; p 6.5
  • Purchased during the 1978 Olympiad in Buenos Aires

Bolivia. King and Queen are busts of Bolivian Indians. The King with traditional hat and the Lady with two braids. A lama, since pre-Columbian times in South America at home, acts as a Knight. The Rook is the famous Sun Tower on Lake Titicaca. Bishop and pawn his guards, a motif which is repeated in the leg of the table. Also on the Board are repeated motifs of the pieces. The table leg is hollow and can act as box for the pieces.

« 1 of 4 »
  • Bolivia, La Paz (El Alto), by Guzmán
  • 1997
  • Mahagony K 11.1; p 7.0
  • Table/board 60.0×59.5×55.3

Brasil. I have 4 of these sets. The sets are  made in the style of the North-Western folk art in Brazil, which is founded in the 1940s by the Brazilian artist Vitalino Pereira dos Santos Neto (1909-1963). Manually designed sculptures show caricatures of politicians and soldiers, of priests and saints or of the legendary Bandit Lampiao and Maria Bonita his life's companion. Sometimes you see a more undefined kind of authority figures. The knights are riders and the rooks are small houses. Pawns bear kick or something else on their shoulder. Associated board is a baked tile on which a chessboard painted. The 1st set is without board and is particularly finely made by Leonildo do Nascimento, a Brazilian artist. The 2nd set, also fine, is made by José Vitalino Neto, as is written on the associated board. I do not know the maker(s) of the more coarse sets 3 and 4, which were together at purchase and are probably from the same workshop.

The creations of Vitalino Pereira dos Santos Neto became iconographic and inspired the formation of several generations of artists, especially in Alto do Moura in Caruaru, which were influenced by the master and of which the following stand out: Manuel Eudócio (Mestre Eudócio), Severino Vitalino (son of the master), Elias Vitalino (master's grandson), Marliete Rodrigues, Socorro Rodrigues, Seu Elias and many others. I did not found 2nd set maker José Vitalino Neto, but I think he was also related to the master. The Portuguese word "neto" means "grandson" and he lived also in Alto do Moura in Caruaru, as is written on the associated board as well.

« 1 of 3 »
  • Brazil, Recife, by Leonildo do Nascimento
  • 1994
  • Ceramic K 4.1; p 4.2
« 1 of 8 »
  • Brazil, Recife, by José Vitalino Neto
  • 1994
  • Ceramic K 4.7; p 4.9
  • Board 24.4×24.4
  • on board is written: "JOSÉ VITALINO NETO. ALTO DO MOURA CARUARU PE."
« 1 of 2 »
  • Brazil, Recife
  • 1995
  • Ceramic K 4.7; p 5.1
  • Board 24.0×24.0
« 1 of 2 »
  • Brazil, Recife
  • 1995
  • Ceramic K 4.3; p 5.0
  • Board 23.5×23.5

Colombia. Actually these sets are normally said to be from Ecuador. But I do not exclude Colombia having Tagua nuts as well. I have listed another Tagua set at the Ecuador page.

« 1 of 3 »
  • Colombia, Bogota
  • 1963
  • Tagua nut (vegatable ivory) K 10.7; p 3.3

Ecuador. These Tagua nut sets are from Ecuador, although I have one listed at Colombia page.

« 1 of 2 »
  • Ecuador
  • 1990
  • Tagua nut (vegatable ivory) K 10.4; p 4.2
  • Box/board 34.1×16.9×9.0 (closed)

Ecuador. The model of the 2 identical ceramic sets could origin in France 1st half of 19th century. I'm thinking on Limoges porcelain. Today you find these mainly in America in ceramic. But it is copied by many. Different artists claim this game as theirs. So did Han Theuns (Dutch trader) claim that Jackie Bouw did design it specially in honor of Gari Kasparov! King, Queen, Bishop and pawn are heads with respectively King Crown, Royal Crown, mitre and helmet. Knight and Rook are presented as such. The makers call it ceramic, but it looks more like Potter's stuff. The pieces are hollow inside. First time I saw the pieces they were part of a mobile. To the mobiles they have a hole on the top, so that they can hang on strings. At these sets only at one brown pawn! I have 2, because I thought the size difference was a mistake and did order another intending to equal size of white and brown pieces. But the new one was exactly the same! Actually that was to be expected, because the mobiles did have white and brown figures in different sizes.

  • Ecuador, Quito, by Betancourt
  • 1996
  • Ceramic Kw 9.7; pw 6.7; Kz 8.9; pz 6.2
  • Ecuador, Quito, by Betancourt
  • 1996
  • Ceramic Kw 9.7; pw 6.7; Kz 8.9; pz 6.2

Ecuador. The small ceramic game with Spanish conquerors against native Indians was a gift.

« 1 of 2 »
  • Ecuador, "Aztecs against Spaniards"
  • 2010
  • Ceramic K 4.8; p 3.5
  • Board/box 20.0×10.0×4.9

Mexico. The obsidian set is one of my favourites. Actually I do have that set much longer as I am collecting. It was a present of my father in law, who bought it in Mexico on one of his business trips. King, Queen, Bishop and pawn have native American motifs of the Mixtec (16th century) and do think of the giant statues on Easter Island. They are squat figures with the hands on the knees. Knight and Rook have a more Staunton-like design. The color of the material depends on the light. So can the black pieces seem even white!

« 1 of 4 »
  • Mexico, Mexico city
  • 1970
  • Obsidian (vulcanic glass) K 8.5; p 5.8

Mexico. The small malachite set with Indian motives was a gift that I never did unpack to keep it new.

« 1 of 2 »
  • Mexico
  • 2000
  • Malachite K 4.1; p 2.1
  • Box/board 16.3×16.0×3.6

Peru. These ceramic sets are a.o. made for the fair trade market. The 1st set was imported by the Foundation Cusco Peru in the Netherlands. This Foundation was run by a single woman, Rosa Maria Noom-Serrudo. She imported arts and crafts from Peru, Mexico and Guatemala and did so only for the fair trade shops in the Netherlands [July 2018: I got a message that the foundation does not exist any more]. The 2nd set was bought at Emporio Titano, San Marino. On one side the King, Queen, Bishop and pawn as Western figures, probably clergy. King, Queen, Bishop and pawn of the other side are Inca figures. Notable difference is that the Western party has a real horse, while the Inca party has a lama as Knight. The Rooks are grove construction work.

« 1 of 2 »
  • Peru, Cusco
  • 1999
  • Ceramic K 5.8+5.5; p 3.3
  • Board 23.9×23.9
« 1 of 2 »
  • Peru
  • 2000
  • Ceramic K 6.4+6.9; p 3.9
  • Board 30.0×30.0

USA. The Disney set has a larger variant (I believe it is called "King of Chess"), but that is much rarer as this one, which is on its turn rarer as he plastic sets. We see Mickey Mouse, Minny, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pig and the Huey, Dewey or Louie as pawns.

« 1 of 2 »
  • USA, by Disney Corporation, "Micky Mouse"
  • ca. 1970
  • Pewter K 6.9; p 3.6
  • Cassette/board 36.2×36.2×7.5

USA. This figural set has been created by Terry and Esi Ostovar, Ashland in Oregon. They made only 3 or 4 chess sets in the 80ies. Terry Ostovar is still making ceramics, but in California, USA now. You can see her work at www.etsy.com/shop/TerrysTouchCeramics

« 1 of 6 »
  • USA, Terry & Esi Ostovar in Ashland, Oregon
  • 1980
  • Ceramic K 7.8-8.3; p 4.6-5.1

USA. The model of the 3 identical ceramic sets could origin in France 1st half of 19th century. I'm thinking on Limoges porcelain. Today you find these mainly in America in ceramic. But it is copied by many. Different artists claim this game as theirs. So did Han Theuns (Dutch trader) claim that Jackie Bouw did design it specially in honour of Gari Kasparov! King, Queen, Bishop and pawn are heads with respectively king crown, royal crown, mitre and helmet. Knight and Rook are presented as such. Sometimes these sets are referred to as Duncan chess set, which would be sold bisque, ready to paint. 1st set, of the 3 listed here, was a combined buy with other sets. The other 2 are gifts of which the last one was by the widow of a member of our chess club who died while he was playing chess.

« 1 of 2 »
  • USA
  • 1980
  • Ceramic K 10.7; p 7.5
  • USA
  • 1980
  • Ceramic K 10.8; p 7.4
  • USA
  • Late 20th century
  • Ceramic K 10.2; p 7.0

USA. The last ceramic set is mainly seen in USA, although I bought this one for little money in a 2nd hand shop in the Netherlands.

  • unknown origin, but mostly seen in USA
  • Bought in a 2nd hand shop in the Netherlands in 2010, but set must be older
  • Ceramic K 14.0; p 8.0