Medieval Walrus Ivory Chess Pieces on Display at the Cloisters, in New York

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 3 December 2004.

I miss New York. I was born in New Jersey and spent my young childhood there. We spent a lot of time in New York City and I really miss having quick access to things like the Natural History Museum and in my more recent years the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Articles about events like this one don’t make living on the west coast any easier…

The Cloisters: ‘The Game of Kings: Medieval Ivory Chessmen From the Isle of Lewis’ (through April 22) In 1831, a farmer on the Isle of Lewis, the largest island of the Outer Hebrides, discovered a lost cache of medieval chess pieces. Today, thanks to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” in which Harry and Ron play with magically animated replicas of them, the Lewis Chessmen are world famous. On tour from the British Museum, these adorable, bug-eyed little kings, queens, bishops, knights and warders, each beautifully carved from walrus ivory, are wonderful to examine up close. You don’t have to be a chess player or a Harry Potter fan to love them. 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, Washington Heights, (212) 923-3700,

Here is the website of The Cloisters. I highly recommend a visit, walrus ivory or no.

Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the Lewis Chessmen.