Full-size replica of the Lewis Chessmen Berserker from the National Museums Scotland collection in new simulated ivory finish, handmade in the UK.
3D laser scans were taken of the pieces in our collection to create these authentic poly-resin replicas exclusive to National Museums Scotland. According to Old Norse literature, berserkers were notorious as fighting uncontrollably in a trance like state. Notice how our Berserker has bulging staring eyes and angrily bites his shield ready for action!
The Lewis chess pieces are among the best known objects in the National Museum of Scotland. The Viking hoard of ninety-three pieces, carved from walrus ivory and probably made in Scandinavia in the 12th century, were found some 700 years later in a sand-dune at Uig on the island of Lewis in 1831. The craftsmanship varies from piece to piece but it is often the facial expressions that reveal their true quality. The hoard contained four distinct sets with some traces of dark red colouring on some of the pieces. Eleven pieces are currently owned by National Museums Scotland and the remaining eighty-two are in the British Museum. While the reason for the hoard is unknown, there is little doubt that chess would have been a pastime of the wealthy Viking lords who ruled the islands at the time, paying lip service to the King in Norway, but fighting endlessly amongst themselves for local control of the islands.