Russia  (Europe)

Russia. This "Siberian Souvenir", with graceful figures in the old Soviet style, was produced since the 70s in Siberia, Divnogorsk (Low-voltage equipment plant) in a limited series as a souvenir gift. This set is probably from the early 80's. The plastic - once wrongly described as noble kind of natural stone! - is often said to be Bakelite, but actually pieces are made of Carbolite (imitation of ivory) and brass, while the board is made of Carbolite and aluminium. The felted pieces, as well as the board, are very heavy, due to the heavy plastic and the metal which holds them together. Carbolite is a phenol formaldehyde resin analogous to Bakelite used in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.

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  • Russia
  • ca. 1980
  • Carbolite+brass K 11.0; p 6.7
  • Box/board 47.0×23.5×6.2

Russia. This plastic set is just an oddity. I do not know what the maker was thinking or who he was (I can't decipher the text inside the board). I do not know the kind of plastic either. Maybe Carbolite?

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  • Russia
  • Late 20th century
  • Plastic K 9.0; p 5.1
  • Box/Board 39.8×20.0×5.5

Russia. This Gzhel (or Ghzel/Gshel/Gschel/Schgel/...) porcelain chess set, with its typical blue glaze, is one of at least a dozen known different designs. That is not counting the variations we see as well. Juri Garanin did design these sets of which some bear his name, like this one. If he did all chess sets designs is uncertain: Gzhel refers not to a single village or factory, but to about 30 villages located southeast of Moscow with several porcelain manufacturers. We see different marks on the sets. Maybe there are unmarked copies by others as well. We know small, medium and large chess sets with boards of about 19, 31.5 and 45 cm. The set here is medium and it is named "Souvenir" (I think), but if that is for the design or just a general award is unknown to me. Figures are based on stories from history with Russian and Tatar motifs. Under the board a "Gzhel" logo and the number 2 (see 3rd picture in the gallery). What the number means is not known to me, but could refer to the size. On top of the board it says, if I decipher well: ААТ. ГарАниню (AAT. Garanin) and расп. ЛаринA (rasp. Larina). See last 2 pictures in the galley. I do not know Russian and I do not know if I have interpreted the characters well, but I think it means designed by Garanin and painted by Larina.

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  • Russia, Gzhel
  • 1986
  • Porcelain K 7.2; p 4.3
  • Board 31.8×31.3×4.1