Combined chess- and backgammonboard decorated with emblems

Unknownlate 17th century

Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

The textile cover and exquisite embroidery of this artwork in the Museum of Applied Arts is a rarity, as these game boards are usually made of peculiar woods, ivory or precious metal. No piece of similar age and technique has so far been published in foreign or Hungarian collections. On the outer sides of the folding board draughts or chess and nine-men’s morris, on the inside backgammon can be played. On the chess-board side in the narrow upper and lower strips the picture of an eagle swooping down on a fish and grabbing it with its claws can be seen in an oval laurel wreath frame. On the border of the board Turkish war trophies are shown in medallions, and in the corners there are verse lines in laurel wreaths. On the side of the nine-men’s morris the midpoints of the sides of the frame are marked by Turkish war trophies in oval medallions. The inner side shows the two halves of the backgammon board. The broad band separating the two fields is adorned with an eagle feeding its young and an eagle fighting a bird in laurel wreaths. In the corners crossing horns of plenty, in the middle the nine muses in oval fields can be seen. There is no exact data on the owner of the game-board. His identity can only be guessed from the ornamental motifs: the Turkish war trophies and the eagles suggest that he was one of the successful military commanders of the anti-Ottoman wars. The presence of the muses indicates that the owner was a patron of culture, music, art. The verse lines speak about a battlefield victory. The enigmatic implications of the ornamental motifs and the hexameters best suit Marquis Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden (1655–1707) and Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736).

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  • Title: Combined chess- and backgammonboard decorated with emblems
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: late 17th century
  • Location Created: Venice, Italy
  • Provenance: Acquired from the Hungarian National Museum in 1877 (earlier in the collection of Miklós Jankovich)
  • Place Part Of: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w64 x h3.5 x d40 cm (Complete)
  • Type: Toy
  • Rights: Museum of Aplied Arts, Budapest, 2012
  • External Link: http://collections.imm.hu/gyujtemeny/ostabla-tarsasjatektabla/841
  • Medium: Coloured silk tapestry weaving, double satin stitch embroidery with gold and silver threads on black false repp base; on a wooden panel.