'Reds and Whites': A Soviet Porcelain Chess Set, State Porcelain Manufactory, Leningrad, after 1922

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After a 1922 design by Natalia Danko, the Red King modelled as a blacksmith in a foundry apron holding a hammer, the Red Queen dressed in traditional Russian peasant costume, the bishops as two strapping Red Army men armed with modern pistols, the rooks as fantastic ships, a form unique to Russian chess sets, each decorated with a golden hammer and sickle within wheat sheaves, symbol of the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic, the pawns as golden-haired peasants, their muscular arms holding scythes and wheat; the White King modelled as a laughing skeleton in medieval armour with ermine mantle draped over an Imperial crown, the White Queen holding a large cornucopia out of which spill gold coins, the two bishops as 19th-century cavalry officers bearing the Imperial eagle, the rooks as white ships, the rigging surmounted by the Imperial eagle, the eight pawns suffering and imprisoned, bound by three rows of chain, apparently unmarked, apart from one red and one white pawn each with impressed X or K
height of Red King 11cm, 4 3/8 in.