Man Ray designed this elegant chess set because of his lifelong friendship with Marcel Duchamp who was an avid chess player. He sought to use pure geometric forms associated historically and figuratively with the pieces they represent. The King represents the Egyptian king's pyramid; the Queen is the conical headdress of a medieval queen; the Bishop represents a flask for concocting healing liqueurs; and the Knight is based on a favorite form -- the carved scroll found on a violin. Only a handful were ever produced in Man Ray's lifetime (the maharajah of Indore commissioned a set made from silver-plated brass), and this re-issued design is rendered in wood and based on an original example from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection.
A solid beech wood chessboard that beautifully compliments this set is also available for $250.
Made in Germany under license with the Man Ray Trust.