Lewis Chessmen Statue, Uig, Island of Lewis, 31st July 2012
I find the story of the Lewis Chessmen a great story, there is so much mystery about it, I was delighted to come across this statue, the inscription reads thus: “This sculpture, carved in oak by Stephen Hayward was commissioned in 2006 by Uig Community Council with the co-operation of Ardroil Grazings Committee.
It is based on one of the Kings in the famous collection of walrus ivory chess pieces which were discovered near here in 1831. They were found by Malcolm MacLeod of Pennydonald hidden inside a small stone structure in a sand dune but the exact find spot is not known.
Eleven of the exquisitely carved figures are in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh and 82 in the British Museum in London. They were probably made in Norway in the 12th century during the 450 year period when the Norse ruled the Western Isles.
Much more information about the chessmen, the Vikings and the Norse period in Uig can be found in the local museum situated in the Uig Community Hall and Heritage Centre”.
There is a marvellous book called “The Lewis Chessmen Unmasked” by David H. Caldwell, Mark A. Hall and Caroline M. Wilkinson. This book was published round about the time that an exhibition of the Chessmen was on tour in various Art Galleries. I went to see them in Aberdeen and also sat and watched a video, it was very interesting. What gets me is the mystery of the story and the beauty of the pieces themselves.