Ivory chess set

Art & Culture
batchimeg@montsame.gov.mn
2020-12-04 17:13:27

Gobi-Altai /MONTSAME/ One of the precious and rare items of Gobi-Altai aimag Local Museum is 'Ivory chess set' crafted by carver O.Sandag.


In 1965, citizen of Sharga soum of the aimag O.Sandag carved the ivory chess and presented it to the museum. White and black pieces of the chess are depicted in different figures or with 32 figures and it is special as figure of each chessman is idiographic. The board’s size is 34 x 34 cm and total weight of the chess is 1,125 kg.

In particular, pawns of black pieces are depicted in goat figure while white pawns are sheep-shaped. Furthermore, the chessboard is ornamented with encircled 15 pieces of patterns by piercing ivory.


Chess is one of various puzzle, disentangling and board games contributed by Mongolian nomads to intellectual treasury of humanity. Mongolian chess (shatar) has thousands of years of history and it is widely spread across the country in the time of the 7th century. Chess pieces, their names and moves are associated with animal husbandry. Mongolians play chess, as a rule, in peaceful and deferential atmosphere and rules for playing Mongolian chess are same for all ethnic groups in Mongolia.