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Designed in 1920 and recreated by expert craftsmen from Germany and Italy, these pieces are comprised of abstract geometric forms. Philadelphia-born, Brooklyn- raised, Dada-Surrealist artist Man Ray created sets from 1920 till his death in 1976.
The pyramid is the Egyptian symbol of kingship and the cone a medieval queen's headgear. The flagon represented the bishops' tradition of creating exotic liqueurs and spirits. The knight is fashioned after the head scroll of a violin and the pawns are as tall as the rooks and almost as volumetrically robust as many of the other pieces that are higher ranked to show the increased importance of pawns in modern chess play.
Very few of these original sets are still available for purchase and when they are, they command prices at auctions of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Man Ray is hailed as one of 20th century's most innovative artists. Son of a Russian immigrant tailor, Man Ray's artwork was far ahead of its time so he lived modestly his whole life. His vision was to design a simple, straightforward, but modern and affordable chess set.
Interesting fact. The knight piece fashioned as the scroll of a violin is sourced uniquely from a violin manufacturer in Italy with the expertise and tooling most suited. It's then joined with the rest of the beech wood set made in Germany and finished to perfection.
King 3.25", base 1.5", weight: .085 oz
Queen 3.25", Bishop 2.75", Knight 2", Rook and Pawn 1.4"