The Lewis Chessmen (or Uig Chessmen, named after the bay where they were found) are a group of 78 chess pieces from the 12th century most of which are carved in walrus ivory, discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. They may constitute some of the few complete medieval chess sets that have survived, although it is not clear if a set as originally used can be made from the pieces present. They are owned and exhibited by the British Museum in London, which has 67 and the Royal Museum in Edinburgh. There has been fairly heated debate about the best place for the display of the pieces.
The chessmen were probably made in Norway, perhaps by craftsmen in Trondheim, in the 12th century, although some scholars have suggested other sources in the Nordic countries. During that period the Outer Hebrides, along with other major groups of Scottish islands, were ruled by Norway.Some historians believe that the Lewis chessmen were hidden (or lost) after some mishap occurred during their carriage from Norway to wealthy Norse towns on the east coast of Ireland, like Dublin. A large number of pieces and their lack of wear may suggest they were the stock of a trader or dealer in such pieces.Along with the chess pieces, there were 14 plain round tablemen for the game of tables and one belt buckle, all made of ivory, making a total of 93 artifacts.
Around the Isle of Lewis one occasionally comes across a large wooden carving of one of the chesspieces.
This tiny, ant-like beetle is a blister beetle of the family Meloidae – perhaps an Anthicus species, possibly Anthicius floralis – the narrow-necked harvest beetle. Like most creatures on the Island it enjoys aggravating humans. In this case it pierces the skin and injects canthadrin – a poisonous chemical which causes blistering of the skin. (Canthadrin is used medically to remove warts). For the purposes of scientific research and a better photo I allowed it to have a go at me. When not busy biting it was sprinting all over my hand which made it difficult to photograph. Once stationery and biting it was easier to photograph – the things I do for science!
I can confirm that being injected with canthadrin hurts.
This photo of a shop in Keswick is one for Partner-who-drinks-tea. She loves pink, which is a shame because it is my least favourite colour. But such is my affection for her that I wore a pink tie and pink socks when we got married - but I did hide the socks under another pair of more subdued ones and only showed them off during my speech at the wedding breakfast.
On my posting of ‘Home for the next few weeks’ Librarian asked whose pointed ears could be seen on the corner of the first photo. It’s a creature I take so much for granted that I hardly even notice it any more. The ears belong to a picture of a cat that lives on the corner of the window. Why a silhouette of a cat lives on the corner of a window I don't know! One of GB's quainter ideas. Perhaps he'll let us know in the comments?
One special Hebridean friend asks that I bring the good weather with me each time I come up and in previous years I've succeeded. So far this year I'm a bit slow getting off the ground but at least I've managed a bit of sunshine every day. This was at six this morning and I have strong doubts as to her being up to see it so I thought I'd better put it on my blog.
There was even enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers, as my grandmother used to say.
By lunchtime my reputation was secure - for today at least!
P.S. Partner-who-drinks-tea is back on the internet. It only took BT 13 days to sort the problem out. That’s 312 hours, or 18720 minutes or 1,123,200 seconds – give or take a few. Well done British Telecom - another dissatisfied customer.
Thanks for stopping by! Would you like a cup of tea or coffee? And please, sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. I am a happily married man in my late sixties who lives on the Wirral peninsula, near Liverpool, in the UK.
I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. I used to blog as Scriptor Senex which is Latin for Old Writer but now Google only lets me post as John Edwards.
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)