Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A New Theory on the Origin of the Lewis Chess Pieces

Kudos to Dylan Loeb McClain for this article from his Gambit blog at The New York Times.

September 7, 2010, 12:30 pm
A New Theory on the Origin of the Lewis Chessmen


"Oy vey!  A new theory on the Lewis Chess Pieces!"
Scholars have studied the pieces since they were discovered and say that based on the style of their carvings they were made between 1150 and 1200 A.D., most likely in Trondheim, Norway. On Saturday, Sept. 11, there will be a conference on the Lewis Chessmen at the Scottish national museums timed to coincide with a tour of some of the pieces, called “The Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked.”

The question of the provenance of the chessmen may seem academic, even trivial. But scholars say their design, how they were created, who created them, even why they were made reveal important clues to the history and development of the North Sea region.

The two men pushing Iceland as the birthplace of the pieces are two chess aficionados, Gudmundur G. Thorarinsson and Einar S. Einarsson. According to a Web site created to explain his theory, Mr. Thorarinsson is a civil engineer and a former member of the Icelandic Parliament. Mr. Einarsson, a former president of Visa Iceland and a friend of the late chess champion Bobby Fischer, is helping to promote the idea.

They wrote e-mails to the organizers of the Scottish conference asking that the Icelandic theory be added to the agenda, but they said they were told the schedule had already closed. Still, they say they plan to attend and discuss the idea with scholars there.

Rest of article.
It really is a shame that Thorarinsson and Einarsson weren't able to officially present their intriguing hypothesis to the Conference.  Unfortunately, pointed exclusion is a method that has so often been used to shut out the voices of people who disagree with the accepted line. 

Thank Goddess for the internet. 

Through its power, hypotheses and theories - no matter how far out they may seem - may now be discovered and pondered over.  It is no longer an academically controlled shut-out on people who like to think Outside The Box.  Isn't that what we are supposed to do?  Stimulate discussion.  Stimulate thinking.

Personally, I believe that Thorarinsson and Einarsson  have advanced a viable hypothesis that is worth further exploration and discussion.  Just off the cuff, I found the "bishop" information very compelling.  Check out their website: The Origin of the Lewis Chessmen

1 comment:

Hels said...

Great story... still more to learn, I suspect. Thanks for the link

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