Pharaoh Eyes (Pharao Oculi); Soviet ‘Analysis’ Chess Set, c.1950.32 vintage chess pieces without board, wood, amber vs. black, naturally weighted, restored. Height: King 8cm, weight 9g, base width 2.6cm; Queen 6.8 cm, wt. 9g; Bishop 6.3cm 6g, Knight 5.7cm 7g, Rook 4.5cm, 10g, Pawns 4.2cm 6g. W: Lush Prussian Blue felt pads, B: same
An unspeakably rare and unusual Soviet pattern, in that, the hand-carved upper torso of the knight actually resembles the head of a horse (shocking!) rather than the more familiar abstract and Brutalist forms favoured by the U.S.S.R.’s Ministry of Sports and Culture. At the time of writing, the manufactory where these medium-sized, Voronezh-style playing pieces were made is unclear, but the distinct diamond-shaped eyes of the knights are reminiscent of the Soviet “Egyptian” patterns produced by the Khalturin Artel during 40’s and 50’s (see last photo) – hence, the playful Latin moniker. Should any more info come to light you’ll read it here, as I update the archives on a regular basis.
The original patina has a distressed state of drop-dead gorgeousness about it, and for the most part, has been left untouched. The original surviving finials were cast from a hard plastic, possibly carbolite, solid black vs. white. One set was missing, the one black king finial was damaged, therefore I decided to replicate the original design in wood* and match them to the sumptuous patina lending the set a more complete and aged feel as a whole. A few ugly chips have been repaired around the bases and the original, tatty dark blue cloth pads (with several missing) have been replaced with deep blue felt.
Overall, a unique addition to any collection and I am happy to have played a part in their new adventures in life. Farewell, ye Pharaohs!