replica: from the British Museum, London

donated by: Professor Sharon Wright and Lyla Wright

date of the original: 1150-1200 CE

provenance of the original: Uig, an area on the western coast of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland buried in a sandbank.

description: There are 16 Bishops from the Lewis chess piece hoard.  The two we have here are shown wearing mitres, a ceremonial headdress of bishops, and they hold a hooked staff of office known as a crozier.  While only one is enthroned they are both making a sign of blessing, are clean-shaven and wearing religious garments.

The "Norwegian argument," the belief that the Chessmen were crafted in Trondheim, Norway, is the most widely accepted theory pertaining to the origins of the Chessmen as it is supported by the most evidence. However, some scholars have recently found evidence that suggest the possibility of the Lewis Chessmen pieces having Icelandic roots.