Chess set in wood, tribal chess Skip to content


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Tribal Chess

Sale price€895,00 EUR


This striking Chess set was hand carved by local artisans on the island of Borneo, in a tribal interpretation of the traditional pieces.

The tradition to play chess date back to 600 A.D in Persia and then travelled the world through the Silk Road. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance chess was the game of Nobles and Royals, used to teach war strategy. At the time it was known as The King's Game.

During that era chess was also often used for sermons on morality and different chess pieces were used as metaphors for different classes of people where human responsabilities derived from the rules of the game.

There is a rich symbolism embedded in the game, meanings that vary across countries and cultures. The black and brown color symbolize darkness and light, while the checkerboard represents the yin-yang duality. With it’s 64 squares the board has the same number as the realization of cosmic unity. The checkerboard motif symbolizes the space where cosmic forces operate, and the human inner world where man faces himself.

The pieces in this beautiful set are made in tribute to the ancestral religion that’s been present in Borneo since antiquity. An important part of the islands culture was carving figures in wood with a human or animal face, as an invitation for ancestors and divine animal spirits to move inside the totems and protect and guide the owner through life. 

The set comes complete with its story printed out for you inside a beautiful envelope. Being handmade each set is slightly different.
 Dimensions: Board: ca 55 x 55 x 4cm, Figurines: each is ca 10 - 15cm tall by 3cm wide
 We ship worldwide. If your country is not listed in the checkout please contact us for a shipping quote.