Unknown Artist, ‘The Battle of Issus Chess Set ’, 1990-2016,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Unknown Artist, ‘The Battle of Issus Chess Set ’, 1990-2016,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Unknown Artist, ‘The Battle of Issus Chess Set ’, 1990-2016,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Unknown Artist, ‘The Battle of Issus Chess Set ’, 1990-2016,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Unknown Artist, ‘The Battle of Issus Chess Set ’, 1990-2016,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Unknown Artist, ‘The Battle of Issus Chess Set ’, 1990-2016,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Unknown Artist, ‘The Battle of Issus Chess Set ’, 1990-2016,  M.S. Rau Antiques

Lavishly decorated and large in size, this extraordinary, elaborate chess set is the only one of its kind, and is perhaps the best ever made. Crafted by the hand of a master jeweler, the exquisite quality of its manufacture is showcased in each and every detail. Every 14k gold game piece is different, encrusted with semiprecious stones and brightly hued enamel, and each is endowed with mechanical movement. This ancient game of war truly comes to life on the breathtaking board, which is itself a spectacular sight to behold. This incredible chess set rests atop its custom-crafted mahogany and leather-topped table, accompanied by two chairs.

The ancient Battle of Issus is the subject of this extraordinary set and an apt reference to the military-like strategy of the game. What was one of the most important battles of the ancient world is beautifully retold here through pieces representing gods and goddesses, ancient structures, and creatures of both Greek and Persian origin. Alexander the Great and King Darius III take their places on the board as kings. At Alexander's side is Queen Athena, the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, while the winged Persian god of war stands as Darius' queen piece. War ships sailing over waves and massive elephants covered in elaborate trappings take the place of bishops, while the castles have been transformed into the columned temples of ancient Greece and the impressive Persepolis. Horsemen and footmen face off as well, each with their own sword, javelin, or bow.

Not a single detail has been overlooked in this exquisite set, from the laces of the soldiers' boots to the tiny feathered arrows in their quivers. Yet, even the spectacular aesthetic design of the pieces is surpassed by their mechanical complexity. Each figure stands on a solid pink rhodonite or green malachite base that, when twisted, triggers a different movement in each individual piece. Through this simple movement, the ships row their oars, Alexander lowers his sword, archers tense their bows and horses shake their manes - the extraordinary pieces, so rich in appearance, truly come alive.

The chess table is as remarkable as the chess pieces. The squares of the board are crafted of pink rhodonite and green malachite to match the bases of each piece, and can be removed for storage when not in use. The sides of the board are formed from pure silver, sculpted in high relief to depict battle scenes that mimic the motifs in the game pieces. Archers, horsemen, chariots and elephants all engage in an endless combat that heightens the drama of the game board.

A product of over 14,000 man hours over the course of a decade, this sensational chess set is perhaps the most complex and extravagant ever created. In terms of both mechanics and aesthetics, it is one-of-a-kind in every aspect, and a true masterpiece of design.

25 1/2" wide x 25 1/2" deep x 10" high

About Unknown Artist