Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Book of Chess - King Alfonso X

You can find text and illustrations from the folios Alphonso X Book of Games, A Game Researcher's Resource. 

Here are a small number of illustrations from the work in which you can clearly see the pointing fingers and particular position of hands appearing in the illustrations.  I'm sure it's not just coincidence but that they way the fingers and hands of the characters are positioned mean something.

Here are six ladies, two of whom are playing.  As you can see, each of the ladies has her hands and in some cases her fingers in a certain position.  The lady on the far left gives away the least - she has her hands one on top of the other, in lap! 

In this two game, two ladies are again playing each other.  Notice the positions of each players' hands and fingers!  It's almost as if the ladies are playing two separate games - the one on the board and the one with their hand signals.

Here, two nuns are giving instruction in the finer points of the game to two girls.  The nun on the right has her left hand on the shoulder of the girl who is playing the game.  I was struck by how much the arrangement of these two figures reminded me of Northcote's painting "The Chessplayers" that I posted about a few days ago.

A game of the ladies against the gentlemen.  You can see in this image that the "language of the hands" was not restricted to women!  Am I wrong, or do the black pieces (the ladies) have the white king in checkmate?

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