Imperium Militae (Khan’s Army); Burnt Kyrgyzstan ‘Manas’ Chess Set with Native Board, c.1980
The Khan’s Army (Imperium Militae); 32 hand-painted chess pieces with original board, Kyrgyzstan (Soviet Kirghizia), linden wood, weighted, green vs burnt red, artistically restored, c.1975-1985.
Height: King 15cm or 6”, weight 55g, base width 3.5cm; Queen 13.3cm wt. 45g, Bishop 12.5cm 40g, Knight 9.5cm 22g, Rook 10cm 38g, Pawns 9cm 22g.
Board dimensions; 50cm x 50cm, squares are 5cm. Made in Kyrgyzstan and original to set. Interior, dark brown velvet. No stamp.
W: Lush green felt bases. B: Luxurious crimson red felt bases
We present a sensational example of Central Asian folk-art produced by the Kyail Artistic and Productive Union of Frunze (ancient Bishkek) in Kyrgyzstan. Under Soviet control, this factory produced several patterns of chessmen based on the legend of Khan Manas, who united the 40 nomadic tribes of the Kyrgyz people. His wife, the ‘mother’ of the people, Queen Kanykei, carries a bowl of traditionally fermented mare’s milk (or ‘kymyz’) and the bishop is represented by the shamen, Bakai. The knight is the steed, Ak-kula (‘the special one’) and the rook takes the form of a yurt, the ‘castle’ of the nomadic tribespeople of Kyrgyzstan.
As far as the restoration is concerned, I wanted to keep as much of the original art as possible, however, the dark side (painted over scorched linden wood) was an unsightly and confusing combination of scarlet and purple, the latter of which has been switched to a complimentary crimson red, simplifying the identification of the pieces during a muddled middle game (see our website for before pics). Both sides have also been ‘elevated’ ever so slightly; golden eye-shadow on the two queens and their jewelry is enhanced, for just a few examples. Most of which should go unnoticed as it’s thoroughly in keeping with the work of the original artisans. The unattractive (and rough) latex finish coat has also been replaced with multiple layers of clear shellac and various oil-based varnish coats giving the set a rich, translucent finish in tune with other vintage sets of this era.
Both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent copper ‘Power’ signature on their bases and The Khan’s Army is accompanied by one of our unique Certificates of Authenticity. which are posted off at the end of the year once we tally up how many sets passed through our galleries in 2022. See the Jan. 2022 Chessay on our ALL ABOUT CHESS page for more info on these CoAs.
And likewise, for more info on these Central Asian chess pieces please visit our ALL ABOUT CHESS page @ thechessschach.com and glance an eye over our March 2021 Chessay, Manas, The Kyrgyz and The Great Silk Road.
Etsy Set Price: $950.00 CN
thechessschach.com Set Price: $850.00
Ref Code: IM22