These chess pieces in the photograph are unusual for three reasons.

First, unusually, these pieces are made of wax, the wax being the consistency of candle wax.

Second, most unusually, I was not able to find any helpful information on the Internet, not finding anything on chess pieces made of wax.

Third, it is most unusual for me to create an artificial backdrop for the subject of a photograph – in this case I used a freshly ironed piece of black cloth.

Unusual-chess-pieces-2The Emperor/King and Empress/Queen chess pieces, viewed from the front and the back. To give an idea of size, the Emperor piece is 11 cm high

Here is what I know: I inherited these seven chess pieces from my aunt. There were no other pieces and no chess board.

Here are four guesses: They date from the 1940s at the very latest, but are likely older than that.

The name of the design is “Chinese Imperial” – guess based on some images I saw on the Internet.

They could have belonged to relatives of my aunt’s husband who lived somewhere in East Asia, possibly in China, in the early 1900s.

As they are made of wax they were likely made in a mould and would probably have been painted gold after they were removed from the mould.

Unusual-chess-pieces-3The Emperor/King piece, between two upturned pieces showing their waxy bases smeared with gold paint 

Here is what I wonder:  Where were they made, and were they made commercially and then sold, or were they made at home using a bought mould? And what age are they really? I also wonder if anyone seeing this post might be able to shed any light on these pieces and their age or origin?

This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme “Unusual”. For images from other bloggers on this theme, click here

Posted by Carol