Lewis Chessmen

Released Monday, 28th June 2010
 1 person rated this episode
This week Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, has chosen some of the great status symbols of the world around 700 years ago - objects with quite surprising links across the globe.

Today he is with one of the most familiar objects at the museum; a board game, found in the Outer Hebrides but probably made in Norway - the Lewis Chessmen. They are carved out of ivory and many of the figures are hugely detailed and wonderfully expressive. They take us to the world of Northern Europe at a time when Norway ruled parts of Scotland and Neil describes the medieval world of the chessmen and explains how the game evolved. The historian Miri Rubin considers the genesis of the pieces and the novelist Martin Amis celebrates the metaphorical power of the game of chess.

Producer: Anthony Denselow.

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Episode Details

14m 25s

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