Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Maurice and the Theban Legion
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Finding Faith: The bishop has always been powerful in chess

Photo by Lucien de Guise; courtesy of the British Museum

Lucien de Guise - published on 05/10/20

This 12th-century chess piece features a bishop holding a crozier.

A series that looks at the visual arts for signs of the universal Church in sometimes unexpected places.

Interest in board games and other old-fashioned home entertainment has gone up greatly during lockdown. Sales of Lewis chess sets have been especially brisk. Made of walrus ivory, the original 12th-century set shows the cross-cultural exchange that existed at the time. Probably carved in Norway and found in Scotland, it is among the first sets to have a piece that is recognizably a bishop. These clerics had acquired considerable status in Scandinavia and were occasional warriors. The game itself reached Christendom from the Islamic world more than a thousand years ago, and soon became a favorite pursuit among monks. The Islamic originals did not feature human figures, and certainly not bishops.

bishop; chess
Photo by Lucien de Guise; courtesy of the British Museum

Lucien de Guise is on Instagram @crossxcultural. As a Catholic writer, editor, curator and former museum director, his aim is to build bridges through art.

Tags:
Art
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
3
OUR LADY
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
4
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
5
SLEEPING
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
6
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
7
ORTHODOX COMMUNION
Philip Kosloski
Why do some Eastern Catholics use spoons for Holy Communion?
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.