Hungarian Chess Set

Red side pieces

Donated to the collection in 1971, this hand painted chess set was purchased in Hungary. The set may have been produced a few years before it was donated to the collection. The total set contains 32 pieces, typical of the European chess set.

While most standard European chess sets with machine crafted chess pieces have one side painted or stained red, and the opposing side painted or stained black,or left the natural color of the wood - the Hungarian set features a red side and a green side. The painted costumes of the Hungarian set are typical of court dress of the 19th century in Hungary.

Green side pieces

Upon examination, it is apparent that the pieces from both sides are almost identical, only the major color of the costume has been changed. Each varies in height. The shortest piece at five centimeters is the pawn, while the tallest piece is the king at 9.5cm. However, the base of all pieces is 2.7cm in diameter. Each piece has been "carved" from a block of wood, and because of the uniformity, it is assumed that although each piece is hand painted, the "carving" may have been accomplished using a machine. Each chess piece may then be composed of more than one piece of wood glued to another piece of wood, weighted at the base, covered with a piece of felt on the bottom. and then hand painted.

The following are close-up photographs of the pieces to offer a detailed view of their construction. As may be viewed, there are slight variations in the hand painting of each piece.

Hungarian Green King Hungarian Red King
Hungarian Green Queen Hungarian Red Queen
Hungarian Green Bishop Hungarian Red Bishop
Hungarian Green  Knight Hungarian Red Knight
Hungarian Green Rook Hungarian Red Rook
Hungarian Green Pawn Hungarian Red Pawn


Last update February 15, 2010