The Lewis Chessmen

GNC

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#31
Are there any Scottish people working in the British Museum or is it an English only establishment?
 

GNC

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#33
Well, there you go! If the Scottish BM workers don't have a problem with this, neither do I.
 

rynner2

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#34
MPs angered by ‘Norwegian’ Chessmen
Charlene Sweeney

The British Museum has been accused of “airbrushing” history after a poster campaign claimed the world famous Lewis Chessmen were from Norway, and failed to mention any connection to Scotland at all.

Angus MacNeil, the Nationalist MP for the Western Isles, wants the posters removed or the reference to Norway replaced by Lewis. Mr MacNeil, who has raised the issue at Westminster, described the promotional campaign as a “total cheek”. 8)

The new dispute follows a longstanding debate over where the figures, most of which are in the British Museum in London, belong. The SNP believes they should be repatriated to Scotland, where they were found.

The posters, on display at London Underground stations, promote a new BBC Radio 4 series, A History of the World in 100 Objects, which explores the British Museum’s internationally renowned collection. Under an image of the chess set’s Queen are the words “AD 1150-1200 Norway”, despite ongoing disagreement over its origins.

Mr MacNeil — who has seen the posters at a number of stations — has laid an early day motion (EDM) before the Commons stating that “this House deplores the historical airbrushing of the Lewis Chessmen by the British Museum in a poster campaign”.

The EDM adds that it “further deplores the fact that references to Lewis or the Hebrides are nowhere to be seen; notes that the only thing certain about the chessmen, from the expansive European Norse society, is that they are made from walrus ivory or whale teeth and that they were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831.”

Mr MacNeil’s campaign has won cross party support, with Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour MP, and Stuart Graham, a Conservative MP, signing the EDM.

“It is a total cheek and a fabrication of history,” said Mr MacNeil. “I am writing to the museum and I want the posters either removed or the word ‘Lewis’ inserted over ‘Norway’.

“There is no mention of Lewis, the Outer Hebrides or even Scotland on these posters — even though they are the Lewis Chessmen." The chess pieces were discovered in a sand dune near Uig on the Isle of Lewis in 1831. Although most historians believe the intricately carved figures were made in Norway and bound for Ireland, others have argued they could have been created in Scotland by a craftsman influenced by Viking art. Lewis was a part of the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles between 1079 and 1266.

Many of the Lewis Chessmen — used as a model for a scene in a Harry Potter film — will be reunited for the first time for more than 150 years for a tour of Scotland starting in a few months. Entitled The Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked, the exhibition opens in Edinburgh in May, before travelling to Aberdeen, Shetland and then the Western Isles.

The British Museum has agreed that 25 of its 82 walrus ivory pieces can come up to Scotland to join the travelling exhibition with the 11 pieces held by the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Only part of the collection will come north because the British Museum regards the 12th century chessmen as one of its main visitor attractions.

The tour comes after the Scottish government sought the repatriation of the priceless figures. Former culture minister Linda Fabiani was sent to London to view the chessmen and make the public case, but museum chiefs turned down the request as it would lead to other demands for the return of artefacts. Unlike some of the British Museum’s controversial exhibits, such as the Elgin marbles, the chessmen were not plundered but bought for 80 guineas from an Edinburgh dealer, who himself had paid £30 for them.

A spokeswoman for the British Museum said: “It is generally accepted that the Chessmen were made in Norway, during this period the Western Isles, where the chessmen were buried, were part of the kingdom of Norway not Scotland.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 039558.ece
 
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#35
Coincidentally, recently there's been posted an interesting article about the precise site of the discovery on Comann Eachdraidh Uig's website.

On the same site you'll find the statement:
From the style of carving and dress, the pieces have been dated to the mid to late twelfth century and are certainly Norse in origin. They may have been produced by one or several workshops in Trondheim, Norway, where a similar piece was unearthed.
source

Of course there's no reason that, despite their obvious knowledge, the people at Comann Eachdraidh Uig can't be wrong or guilty of making assumptions - but I bet a bag of toffees that they know more about the subject than Mr McNeil. At the very least this indicates there's no uniformity of opinion even within his own constituency.
 

Kondoru

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#36
They are Norse!

As are the Shetlands

And the Orkneys

And the Selkie

And my friend Wayland

And my Auntie

And my axe.

BTW, I went to Lewis in the Summer, I thought it better than Skye.

Calinash did not impress, but I was very tired that day

There is a good black pudding butcher in Stornoway
 

Dr_Baltar

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#37
Kondoru said:
There is a good black pudding butcher in Stornoway
You haven't lived 'til you've put Willie John's puddin' in your mouth.

Anyway...

Back on topic...
 

rynner2

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#38
Ten things you didn’t know about the Lewis Chessmen
By Malcolm Jack
Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Lewis Chessmen Unmasked exhibition in Edinburgh brings together the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland’s collections of the Lewis Chessmen – a set of medieval gaming pieces, originating most likely from Trondheim in the 12th or 13th century, which were discovered on the Hebridean island of Lewis sometime between 1780 and 1831.

Individually hand-carved from walrus ivory, and numbering 93 pieces in total – 82 of which are held by the British Museum, the remaining 11 by the National Museum of Scotland – the Lewis Chessmen are world famous for their mysterious origins, unique design and curious, almost comical expressions, which range from moody kings to a frightened-looking warder biting down on his shield. They even made a cameo in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Lewis Chessmen Unmasked curator Dr David Caldwell revealed ten fascinating facts about the artefacts, covering everything from the story behind their enchanting expressions to a new theory on when and where on Lewis they were found, why it’s unlikely that a handful of missing Chessmen will ever be discovered, and why the 82 pieces owned by the British Museum will most likely never be repatriated.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 09227.html
 
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#39
An updated LINK to the article I mentioned in my last post: What's Really Known About the Chessmen Findspot.

(The original link takes you to the updated homepage rather than the article).
 

Heckler

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#40
rynner2 said:
to a frightened-looking warder biting down on his shield.
It's interesting how different people label the same object, I read another article on the shield chewing warder figure that suggested (with how much evidential weight I have no idea) that it was a representation of a Norse berserker, so blood thirsty before a charge that he was chewing his shield.
 
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#41
Heckler20 said:
It's interesting how different people label the same object, I read another article on the shield chewing warder figure that suggested (with how much evidential weight I have no idea) that it was a representation of a Norse berserker, so blood thirsty before a charge that he was chewing his shield.
The berserker interpretation is the one I'd always assumed was correct and I'm almost positive that shield-chewing is mentioned in at least one of the Sagas, although I couldn't tell you which one off the top of my head. (This is a really good investment if you're into the subject in general.)
 

titch

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#42
I am sure the Bm itself says the shield biters are beserkers,they where signed as that the last time i went there anyway.
 

Comfortably Numb

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#43

Eponastill

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#44
This is so exciting. They're such superb objects. I saw them on Lewis (as well as in the British Museum. I must say it was better on Lewis. I had them pretty much to myself. Plus we went to the beach where they were found. Another superb place).

I do find it a bit disappointing that the chap casually says 'it's lost its eye' - well so did Odin himself. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.
 

Gloucestrian

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#45
Long-lost Lewis Chessman found in Edinburgh family's drawer

Date: O3 June, 2019
Hah, from the article in 2010 quoted above:

...why it’s unlikely that a handful of missing Chessmen will ever be discovered
The dangers of offering an opinion, the things have been missing for hundreds of years and one found within a decade of that statement being made! Love it!

Good news that one of the missing pieces has turned up, hopefully this will spur other people to check their kitchen drawers. Sadly I haven't got one in mine.
 
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