Chess, which can be seen in the Gdańsk Amber Museum, was recognized as one of the most important museum acquisitions in the world in 2021.
The list published by the Apollo magazine includes exhibits such as from the Museum of Versailles, Borghese Gallery, Rijksmuseum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The magazine editors justified this choice as follows:
"Complete amber chess sets (...) can be found only in a few public museums created from princely collections. The Kunstkammer Georg Laue Gallery, thanks to comparing it with another set, stored at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, identified the box and the chessboard board as the work of Michel Redlin from Gdańsk, one of the greatest amber makers of his time . The chest is decorated with engraved amber plaques depicting various types of genre scenes, emblems and animals, and from its horns grow small amber fruit bowls; once the property of the Dukes of Atholl in Blair Castle, it is now one of the main exhibits in the recently opened Amber Museum in Gdańsk. "
Amber chess pieces (photo from the Amber Museum in Gdańsk).
On the official profile of the Amber Museum-Gdańsk Museum, on Facebook, we can also read that "only four complete sets have survived in the world. In 2020, chess went to auction. Several leading museums competed for chess, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Eventually, they were bought for our museum and returned to Gdańsk after almost 330 years. The chess set was purchased as part of the “Connected by amber. Joint actions to share the amber heritage ”. Co-financing from the European Union amounted to EUR 246,600.00 from the Poland-Russia CBC Program 2014-2020. "
Chess and all the rest
The Amber Museum in Gdańsk started its activity in June 2006. From July 2021, it has a new headquarters, located in Wielki Młyn. According to the available data, the number of visitors is constantly growing. In 2019, 119,000 people saw the available exhibitions. Thanks to the exhibition, visitors can learn not only about the history of amber, but also its craftsmanship, trade routes and the impact on medicine.
Official Facebook profile:
"At our permanent exhibition you can see over a thousand amber exhibits. Some of them are gifts to the museum. They are unique to us, because they not only enrich the collection, but also prove that we care for the common good, which is amber, of which we are all proud.
On two floors of the exhibition, we present amber products from the past to the present day, and in the gallery below you will find the exhibits that were on it thanks to our donors. "
Of course, chess is not the only attraction of this type in the Gdańsk collection. Visitors can see, among others the only lizard inclusion in Poland - an amber nugget from 40 million years ago . Found in 1997 on the beach in Gdańsk Stogi, it is unique in the world. Inside there is a mummified lizard, plant detritus and oak hair. In a way, a contrast to the small nugget is the 68-kilogram block of amber - one of the first exhibits seen by a visitor entering the Amber Museum.
The Gierłowska lizard
The main box of the game "Flirt" also looks interesting. Its structure is wooden, and the outer walls of the body and covers are covered with amber, opaque, multi-colored, flat plates and convex, polygonal, dark orange, translucent cabochons with gold foil on the bottom.
The home altar with Madonna on the crescent moon also looks beautiful . As we read on the official website of the museum:
"The altar is decorated with amber cabochons with ornamental intaglio decoration and openwork bone badges; oval and rectangular, with representations of St. Francis of Assisi, and rectangular with a floral ornament. The next storeys are decorated with amber balls and aprons. The statue of the Madonna is made of a single, transparent lump of amber. ”
It is worth visiting this place when traveling to Gdańsk.