Man Ray designed this chess set in 1920 using found objects from his studio. Most of the pieces are geometric models made for still-life drawing (the king is a pyramid, the queen a cone, the rook a cube, the pawn a sphere).
The knight—the finial of a violin—was fashioned from a box of abandoned violin necks. Only a handful were ever produced (the maharajah of Indore commissioned a set made from silver-plated brass).
As well as constructing his set from practical items, Man Ray's design (just like his artwork) utilizes symbolic design. The King represents the Egyptian king's pyramid; the Queen is the conical headdress of a medieval queen; the Bishop represents a flask for concocting healing liqueurs. The Pawn is nearly as tall as the Rook, perhaps symbolizing the hidden importance of the Pawn in the game.
This re-edition is rendered in Beech wood, as Man Ray originally intended, and is based on a set housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. To play with this set is to create a slow moving, sculptural tableau. You'll want to take your time pondering your next move.
About Man Ray:
Man Ray was an American Modernist artist who spent most of his life in Paris, France. A significant contributor to both the Dadaist and Surrealist movements, Ray was close friends with other artists at the time, including Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp, even including the latter in a brief scene in one of his many arthouse films:
As with Dali and Duchamp, Chess factored into many of Man Ray's works. It is no surprise, then, that he strived to design his own Chessmen!
The House of Staunton warranties this item to be free from manufacturing defect for a period of one year from the date of purchase.
Please click here to download a copy of our warranty and guide to caring for your House of Staunton Chess Pieces.
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|Chess Board Included?||The Chess Board featured is for photographic purposes only and must be purchased separately|
|Fitted Coffer Compatible?||Fits in Fitted Coffer|
|King Height||3.25'' inch / 8.26 cm|
|Recommended Chess Board Size||2.0" inch / 5.1cm|
|Basepad Material||Billiard Cloth|
|Total Number of Pieces||32 Chess Pieces|