VIKING: Wood carved ornaments from the porch of a stave church in Urnes, Norway. 11th century. The Urnes style is the last phase of Viking art. It takes its name from the remarkable carved wooden doors of the stave church at Urnes, Norway. The style is a refinement if the Ringerike style and depends upon interplay of gracefully curving lines for its effect.
The Lewis Chessmen (or Uig Chessmen, named after the bay where they were found) are a group of 78 12th-century chess pieces, most of which are carved in walrus ivory. Discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, they may constitute some of the few complete, surviving medieval chess sets, although it is not clear if a set as originally made can be assembled from the pieces.
Some of the Lewis Chessmen may not have been chessmen at all according to new research. The 12th and 13th century gaming pieces which were discovered in Uig on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 are considered to be Scotland’s most renowned archaeological find. An article in the journal Medieval Archaeology by David Caldwell, Mark Hall and Caroline Wilkinson suggests that many of the 93 ivory pieces may have been used in a game called hnefatafl – an ancient Viking board game that pre-dates chess...