The famous Lewis Chessmen are coming to Lerwick next year as part of a touring exhibition.
From 21st January to 27th March The Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked will be on show in Da Gadderie at Shetland Museum, following successful shows in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. A spokesman said the procurement of the exhibition indicated the high regard in which the museum and archives was held, and was thanks to the ongoing partnership between Shetland Amenity Trust and National Museums Scotland. He said: “The Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked is a truly iconic exhibition which features chessmen drawn from the collections of both the British Museum and National Museums Scotland. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see these pieces together in Shetland.
“The exhibition draws upon new research by National Museums Scotland on the craftsmanship, origins and historical context of the chessmen, to provide visitors with a new and vibrant perspective. The tour is supported by funding from the Scottish Government.”
The Lewis Chessmen were discovered on the western shore of the Isle of Lewis in 1831, as part of a hoard of walrus ivory. The hoard includes assembled pieces made of walrus ivory from at least four chess-sets, probably made in Norway in the late 12th or early 13th century.
As the largest and finest group of early chessmen to survive, they are one of the most significant archaeological discoveries ever made in Scotland and are of major international importance. Few chessmen survive at all from the Middle Ages, and these are unparalleled in their high-quality, humour and intricacy of design.
The exhibition will open to the public on Friday 21st January and there will be a series of related events and activities running throughout the exhibition.