These attractive sets are made in hardwoods - something like tiger ebony - and a mellow local hardwood. They date from pre-WW 2 until the very recent past, and seemingly are still made in the Philippines. Main feature are the handcarved one piece knights - the more elaborate, the older the set. Also remarkable the elongated cross on the kings, and the bulging bases, which give these sets very good stability without having lead weighting. Betters sets have straight rooks instead of underslung rooks. Also, especially in larger sets, all the light figures are noticeably more massive than the darker ones, to make up for the difference in specific weight. Very dicey: these sets are - like all chess sets - imitated in India, in sheesham or even lighter woods. The replicas are easy to distinguish - by weight, by the fact that the dark side is painted, and - by the colour of the felt pads!
Boxed tournament set
Rougher set - see knight - king 106 mm - in a folding box with grip!
The slight differences are revealing - rooks and knights.The outer pieces are the older - more massive - more harmonically turned /carved pieces .
Lovely set, not rare, recent (60ies)- the major figures (king ) seem to represent landowner gentry. BUT - an article by Jim Joannou in the Chess Collector 2/2009 has considerably changed the picture - acc. to Jim this is a "Maria Clara" set, celebrating the novel heroine of Phillippine writer José Rizal - read the whole article HERE - knights are most likely water buffaloes, and the rooks are rice thatched huts. As in other good Filipino sets, natural hardwoods, simply polished and oiled. Kings stand tall at 126 mm.
Handcarved set - acc. to Jim Joannou in Chess Collector 2/2009 - a set celebrating the rice cult, and carved in the Ifugao tribal area in the Northwest - check out Jim's article HERE. The warriors as pawns, stilt houses as rooks, warriors riding water buffaloes as knights. King stands 128 mm - please note that the light side pieces are composed from two different types of wood! Possibly a mixup in the workshop...
Bone & Ivory Chess Sets
Ivory and bone have much to recommend them as material - some of the oldest chess pieces have been made in these solid natural materials. While bone is plentiful as an end product of animal slaughter, ivory is scarce - and nowadays conditioned by the international CITES convention prohibiting the trade in ivory to protect the surviving animals that produce them. Strangely enough, sizeable quantities of ivory from African National parks - as well as from mammoth carcasses appearing in the Siberian tundra - crop up quite steadily.....
Bone chess set, probably made in Germany, with the intricate baskets on king and queen associated with Gustavus Selenus, and the whole german tradition following his famous book with piece illustrations. The eye dots are probably not original, but one former owners children might have been busy with a felt pen...