Asia


Chinese "disc" sets for both International chess (our chess is so called) and Chinese chess ("XiangQi") are described at the Symbols and figurines page.

China. I don't know why this type of set is called "Burmese". To my knowledge are these sets made in China and not Burma (today's Myanmar). Actually it is more a decorative set as a set to play with, although the latter is well possible.

  • China, "Burmese"
  • 1830
  • Ivory K 9.2; p 5.5

China. These 2 "Staunton" sets are recognizable by the knights which are typical Chinese. The big set has its original box, which is typical Chinese as well. The small set has a nice box of glass which is, of course, not original to the set. It isn't a chess box at all.

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  • China, Canton, "Staunton"
  • ca. 1880
  • Ivory K 11.3; p 5.2
  • Box 17.3×13.8×12.3
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  • China, Canton, "Staunton"
  • Late 19th to early 20th century
  • Ivory K 7.0; p 2.8
  • Box 16.0×10.0×6.4

China. This set is a "Staunton inspired" set made of soapstone. These sets are often offered as Jade, but that is incorrect.

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  • China
  • 1978
  • Soapstone (Jade?) K 6.9; p 4.3

ChinaThis travel set is "Staunton" too.

  • China, "Staunton"
  • ca. 1880
  • Ivory K 3.6; p 1.6
  • Board 15.9×15.9×1.0 (open)

ChinaThat small "pocket travel game", made in China, was meant for the German market.

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  • China
  • Late 20th century
  • Plastic K 1.8; p 1.1
  • Box/Board 8.9×5.3×2.0

ChinaThis modern compendium with chess set in "Staunton" style was a gift of my company.

  • China, "Staunton"
  • 2000
  • Abachi K 6.6; p 3.0
  • Box/board 29.5×29.5×7.2

India. The 1st "Vizagapatam" set is actually a decorative set. I doubt if it really was meant for play. The 2nd "Vizagapatam" set was normally sold in a big Sedeli-work box acting as board and containing several (mostly 3) smaller boxes for the chess and the checkers pieces. Shakers and dices could also be part of the game set. I do have only the chess pieces. Same could apply to the 3rd set, which is all ivory in stead of the more common ivory and horn ones.

  • India, "Vizagapatam"
  • Early 19th century
  • Ivory K 11.5; p 6.2
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  • India, "Vizagapatam"
  • 1st half 19th century
  • Ivory + horn Kw 11.1; Kz 10.4; p 4.9
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  • India, "Vizagapatam"
  • ca. 1830
  • Ivory K 10.0; p 4.8

India. This "Berhampore" set is actually a decorative set as well. I do not think it is intended for actual play. These sets are called "Berhampore", because they are said to be made in Baharampur, formerly known as Berhampore (also sometimes spelt Behrampore), a city of Murshidabad district, West Bengal, India. It should not be confused with Brahmapur, city in Odisha, India.

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  • India, "Berhampore"
  • ca. 1830
  • Ivory K x.x; p y.y

India. The "Anglo-Indian Monoblock" set is meant for the English market and intended for actual play. These sets are called "Monoblock", because all pieces are made of one piece of ivory. However this is not true for the King's cross and the Knight. Not sure if the latter is an exception or normal.

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  • India, "Anglo-Indian Monoblock"
  • 1850
  • Ivory K 8.8; p 4.2

India. This "Delhi" set is a nice example of the kind, although it is not that big. Also for these sets can be said that they are more decorative than meant to play, I guess. But I'm  not 100% sure. The box it came in has a sideways sliding lid and is originally of a German set, I think.

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  • India, "Delhi"
  • 1880
  • Ivory K 8.0; p 4.7
  • Box 15.4×10.2×4.1

India. These sets are generally referred to as "Muslim" or "Hindu". The story is that they are completely abstract because in Islam it is not allowed to use humans or animals for display or figures. However, it is unlikely that these sets, which come in many variations, are only made by Muslim craftsmen. It is not clear what Bishops and Knights are, and Indian people told me that it depends on the area in India. Sometimes the taller piece is used as Bishop and sometimes as Knight. The board of cloth is probably younger. These boards are not only used for chess but I don't know the other game(s). The set here does have a beautiful patina and is one of my favourite sets.

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  • India, "Muslim" or "Hindu"
  • 1910 or older
  • Wood K 5.0; p 3.0
  • Board of cloth 47.0×46.0

India. So called "Mughal" sets are made in wood, bone or stone (mostly) for the tourists and made in large quantities. But they have a nice form and decoration. Well suited for play as well. I'm not sure the 3rd set is a real Mughal set, because it has Staunton alike features. Stone sets, like the 4th set here, do reside in a cassette with stone board mostly.

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  • India, "Mughal"
  • 1980
  • Sandelwood + ebony K 10.8; p 4.2
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  • India, "Mughal"
  • Late 20th century
  • Bone K 7.6; p 4.4
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  • India, Varanasi, "Mughal?"
  • 1999
  • Soapstone K 7.8; p 3.2
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  • India, "Mughal"
  • ca. 2000
  • Soapstone K 5.6; p 3.1
  • Cassette/board 25.6×25.6×4.2

India. The last set is a modern "Staunton" set. I'm not 100% sure it is Indian, but the material and way of turning and cutting looks modern Indian to me. The bud rosewood is a loved material in Indian sets nowadays, and the wood has a nice colour and grain indeed. In this case are the pieces weighted which makes it a great set to play with. The box/board resides in a case to protect against damage.

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  • India, "Staunton"
  • ca. 2000
  • Wood K 10.0; p 5.7
  • Box/board 50.1×25.2×5.7
  • Set is in a case

India ~ replicas. Some years ago you could buy these replica sets from India for not too much money. Most of these sets are still available today, but prices have gone up tremendously. On the other hand are these sets very well made using good materials. Especially the wooden sets are made of first class wood. The bud rosewood is stunning! The classic patterns are all based on antique sets and not exactly Chinese copies. The "Old English" set is based on several examples, including my own "Old English" set. See 18th century (England) page.

I have to say that  the "Pepys" set is actually more a decorative set and less meant for play.

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  • India, "Muslim" or "Hindu" replica
  • Late 20th century
  • Bone K 8.3; p 3.0
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  • India, "Pepys" replica
  • 2005
  • Bone K 18.2; p 9.4
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  • India, 18th century "Old English" replica
  • 2009
  • Boxwood + rosewood K 10.6; p 5.6
  • India, "Grand Divan" replica
  • 2009
  • Boxwood + bud rosewood K 10.8; p 6.0
  • India, "Biedermeier coffeehouse" replica
  • 2010
  • Boxwood + ebony K 14.0; p 7.3

Iraq. This board was brought from Iraq to the Netherlands by my father in law long ago. He worked there a long time for his company and got it from his Iraqi friends. It is a real old board, according to my father in law around 1900, but it may be a bit younger I think. But it has real mother of Pearl inlaid. Later boards, say after 1950, mostly have plastic looking like real mother of Pearl inlaid.

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  • Iraq, Bagdad
  • ca. 1900
  • Wood and mother of pearl 49.7×25.0×8.0 (closed)

Israel. This set is made in the manner of Yemenite silver wire design, probably in the second half of the 20th century. Maybe a bit earlier. One side is silver coloured, the other one is gold coloured. Most chessmen are marked on the bottom "Made in Israel" and "925" (this means pure silver), a few marked "Sterling" and a couple unmarked. It is not the best example of its kind, but these sets are rare.

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  • Israel
  • 2nd half 20th century
  • Silver wire K 7.5-8.0; p 4.1

Israel. I cannot tell much about this nice olive wood set from Israel.

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  • Israel
  • 1976
  • Olive wood K 8.6; p 4.6

Mongolia. Three nice examples of Mongolian chess sets. Although figural, these sets are made for play indeed. The Mongolian play chess with some different rules. They also do have their own names for the pieces: Noyon (King), Bers (Queen), Teme (Bishop), Mori (Knight), Tereg (Rook) en Fu (Pawn).

I got rid of the two yak-wool boards because they were pretty affected by moth larvae. Unfortunately, other cloths in my house had been affected too. All in all I had severe damage which was not reimbursed by insurance (attack by moths is explicitly excluded!).

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  • Mongolia
  • 19th century
  • Wood K1 5.1; p1 2.3; K2 4.1; p2 1.8-2.1
  • Box 15.2×9.8×8.0
  • Board of recent date 29.8×29.0×1.2
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  • Mongolia
  • 19th century
  • Wood K1 3.9; p1 2.2-2.9; K2 4.1; p2 1.8-2.5
  • Board of recent date 23.8×24.3×0.5
  • Cups of recent date Ø 8.3 by 12.5 high
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  • Mongolia
  • 19th-20th century
  • Wood K 4.4; p 1.7-2.0
  • Box 17.4×9.1×7.4
  • Each side has, traditionally, a male and a female camel and horse

Myanmar. In Myanmar chess has its own rules and initial position. I'm not sure whether all pieces move like our chess. The figures here are the traditional figures used to play Burmese chess. It is a standard chess set. I do have several other sets listed in Myanmar at the "To look at" menu.

  • Myanmar
  • ca. 1980
  • Wood K 7.4; p 4.9

Myanmar. This cute glass chess set has been handmade in a small factory just outside Yangon (formerly Rangoon).

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  • Myanmar, Rangoon
  • 2010
  • Glass K 8.2; p 3.3-3.7

Philippines. This is a typical Philippine "Staunton" set, very recognizable by the elongated cross on the kings and the bulging bases. The older sets, as this one, are made of hardwood. The newer sets are made of lesser quality wood. There exist also Indian replicas. There was a time you could see the old sets at eBay at regular basis, but nowadays they are seldom offered.

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  • Philippines, Quezon, "Staunton"
  • 1980
  • Wood K 11.5; p 5.8

Philippines. The 2nd set is a nice example of a so called "Moro" set. With the characteristic very ornate knights are these sets easy recognizable. Every set has a different carved knight, but the okir carvings are very specific.

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  • Philippines, Mindanao, "Moro"
  • 2000
  • Banati (wood) + carabao (horn) K 6.9; p 8.0; p 1.8

Vietnam. This is a horn "Régence" and a horn "Staunton" set, both very common sets from Vietnam.

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  • Vietnam, "Régence"
  • 1970?
  • Horn with bone finials K 7.2; p 3.3
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  • Vietnam, "Staunton"
  • 2007
  • Horn K 7.8; p 3.9
  • Box/board 37.0×38.0×2.8 (open)