Luke Honey | Decorative Antiques, Chess, Backgammon & Games


August 16, 2017

A fine example of a Chinese (Macao) Export ivory chess set from the early 19th century. The Portuguese first established a permanent settlement in Macao in 1557. In 1631 the Chinese restricted Portuguese trade in China to the port of Macao. 

The style of carving of this set is also very similar to sets made in the nearby international port of Canton during the early 19th century.

The Union Flag on the rooks shows that the set was intended for export to Great Britain: the white king and queen represent King George III and Queen Charlotte. As the white side has the first move in chess, sets manufactured for export typically depict the white side as Europeans.