Walrus Ivory Chess Piece

Contributed by Salisbury Museum

Walrus Ivory Chessman - Copyright Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

This object is over 750 years old and is the same age as Salisbury Cathedral.This chessman was found in the drainage channels - the old open sewers that ran through the streets of Salisbury. These were found to be a major health hazard and were filled in during the 19th century.
The result was that this and many other amazing medieval objects were found.

The chessman is a king on horseback made out of walrus ivory. It was probably made in Germany or Scandinavia and is one of the finest chessmen of medieval date found in England. The loss of such a king, even in a game, would have been a cause for regret.

Salisbury Museum was founded in 1860 to provide a home for the hundreds of medieval finds from the drainage channels.

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