Highlands & Islands

Lewis Chessmen exhibition opens in Stornoway museum

Lewis chessmen
Image caption The exhibition featuring more than 30 of the iconic Lewis chessmen has been touring Scotland

Some of the historic Lewis Chessmen have gone on display on the island where they were found more than 150 years ago.

More than 30 of the 12th Century pieces are being shown at the exhibition at Museum nan Eilean in Stornoway.

The chessmen were found beneath a sand dune near Uig on the west coast of Lewis at some point before 1831.

Museum curators will also be taking six of the pieces to Uig Museum for a one-day display.

The Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked exhibition features chessmen owned by National Museums Scotland and the British Museum in London.

It has been touring Scotland since last May and has previously visited Aberdeen and Shetland.

'Inscrutable faces'

Alex MacDonald, convener of Western Isles Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, welcomed the exhibition, which will run until 12 September.

He said: "The enigma of the Lewis Chessmen has intrigued and puzzled those who have viewed these inscrutable faces in the last 200 years or so.

"This will give our own community and visitors the opportunity to come face-to-face with faces which are over 800 years old."

Pieces including a knight, king, queen and bishop will be on display at Uig Museum on 13 September for one day.

Curators from National Museums Scotland and the British Museum will also be present to answer any queries from visitors.

The chessmen are one of the most significant archaeological discoveries ever made in Scotland.

The majority of the 93 surviving pieces were acquired by the British Museum in 1831.

Eleven pieces remained in Scotland, and are usually displayed at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

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