WHAT: THE BATTLE OF ISSUS CHESS SET
HOW MUCH: HK$12.8 MILLION
WHY : This elaborate chess set depicts the historical Battle of Issus. Crafted by the hands of a master jeweller who spent more than 14,000 hours over 10 years on it, the chess set pays meticulous attention to detail.
Each 14ct gold game piece is encrusted with semi-precious stones and features brightly coloured enamel with exquisite details, from the shoelaces on the soldiers’ boots to the tiny feathered arrows in the quivers. Each piece is created to resemble an actual figure from the ancient battle.
Apart from being a unique mini statue, each figure is also a moving warrior. With just a twist, the chessman standing on the solid pink rhodonite or green malachite base is triggered to move, and the ships row their oars, the king lowers his sword, archers tense their bows and horses shake their manes. The pieces come to life.
The chess board itself is also a remarkable piece of art. The sides of the chess board, in pure silver, are adorned with sculptures to re-create the combat scene. The squared pink rhodonite and green malachite on the board can be removed for storage when not in use.
The aesthetic design and mechanical complexity of the masterpiece are complemented by a custom-crafted mahogany and leather-topped table and two 19th century leather upholstered chairs to create a one-of-a-kind chess-playing experience.
The chess set was created by New Orleans-based antiques dealer M. S. Rau Antiques.