Thursday, 21 February 2008

Northern homage

Mr Gnome recently dropped in at the National Museum of Scotland to visit the Isle of Lewis chess figures.

Probably created in Norway in the twelfth century, the figures were discovered on the Isle of Lewis in 1831.

The compactness of the design (they are carved from walrus ivory) and the extraordinary facial expressions intrigue and inspire.

People of the HB's generation probably know them best as the inspiration for the much-loved characters in the stories of Noggin the Nog.

4 comments:

Webrarian said...

Before I'd even got that far on the page, the ominous words "Nogbad the Bad" and "Graculus" were entering my mind.

Those chessmen are superb, aren't they? Mr G must have been awfully impressed.

Mr Gnome said...

How kind.

Yes, Mr G was overwhelmed.

Sad, too, that the figures are not all together: a dozen or so in Edinburgh and eighty-plus in the BM in London.

brett jordan said...

Is it just me who finds them quite terrifying? On a similar plane to those porcelain dolls in glass cases...

Mr Gnome said...

Well, I have no way of knowing the answer to that.

I can certainly apprecaite that their air of brooding intensity could touch a nerve in some....