Saturday, June 27, 2009

Why is the Queen so Grumpy?

Back in May, my husband and I had the opportunity to go to Victoria BC and had the great privilege seeing the exhibit "Treasures: The World's Cultures from the British Museum" at the Royal BC Museum. I got to see a curiosity from Scotland that I had also seen last summer when I'd visited Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland. The Lewis Chessmen.

The chess pieces consist of elaborately worked walrus ivory and whales' teeth in the forms of seated kings and queens, mitred bishops, knights on their mounts, standing warders and pawns in the shape of obelisks. They were found in the vicinity of Uig on the Isle of Lewis buried in a drystone chamber in a sand bank. Various stories have evolved to explain why they were concealed there, and how they were discovered. All that is certain is that they were found some time before 11 April 1831, when they were exhibited at the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland.

Who knows who owned the pieces, or why they were left in a chamber in the sand. What I want to know . . . what I have been thinking about for a year now since I first saw the pieces in Edinburgh . . . is why whoever created this set would make the queen look so grumpy? The other pieces are cute little caricatures of a king, bishop, knight, etc. So why would the creator make the one female character look so solemn and downright bored?

Was this his or her impression of womanhood? If so, then I'd suggest that the creator, be they man or woman, needed a bit more historical romantic fiction in their life!

Why do you think the queen is so grumpy? I really, truly want to know.

8 comments:

Terri June 27, 2009 at 4:14 AM  

I don't think she looks grumpy. I think she looks more shocked, like what do you mean that you think you're going to take over our half of the board and then someone takes her out.

Cool chess pieces though.

Terri

Nancy June 27, 2009 at 1:36 PM  

Why is the queen so grumpy?

Because she has to live with the king? *g*

I like Terri's comment. The queen does look sort of shocked and appalled. How cool that the set has survived this long. I love touring museum exhibits!

Gerri Russell June 27, 2009 at 1:42 PM  

Nancy and Terri, Thanks for stopping by! And I have to agree with Terri, maybe she is just shocked at what is about to happen.

Remember the "Wizard's Chess" scenes in the Harry Potter movies? They based the chess pieces on the Lewis chessmen. I thought that was pretty cool!

Nancy June 27, 2009 at 2:51 PM  

That is pretty cool, the movie set being based on the real one.

There's a chess motif all through the late Dame Dorothy Dunnett's Scottish historical saga, The Lymond Chronicles. The books are The Game of Kings, Queens Play, The Disorderly Knights, Pawn in Frankincense, Ringed Castle, and Checkmate. There's actually a lethal chess game, not unlike the one in Rowling's book, in one volume.

People tend either to love those, devouring as fast as they can read, or not get into them. They are a massive, sprawling, romantic epic, just not to everyone's taste.

Gerri Russell June 27, 2009 at 3:10 PM  

Nancy,

I adore Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. Thanks for the reminder. I might have to go dig out those books and re-read them this summer! I forgot about the chess theme there. :-)

Nancy June 27, 2009 at 4:41 PM  

Gerri, you do remember you'll need copious spare time to read those, right? *g*

Gerri Russell June 27, 2009 at 6:41 PM  

Now that you mention it ... maybe not this sumer unless I go live in Jennifer's bubble "house".

Mari June 30, 2009 at 3:30 PM  

Thank you for sharing. You know I wonder what the motivation was behind the expressions. I have the same question in my mind when looking at prehistoric art.

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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