Art / History / Games / Journal & Travels

Caturanga, shatranj then comes chess and Anguissola

Lucia, Minerva and Europa Anguissola Playing Chess, 1555, Muzeum Narodowe (National Museum), Poznań, Poland  Sofonisba Anguissola

Lucia, Minerva and Europa Anguissola Playing Chess, 1555, Oil on Canvas. Painted by Sofonisba Anguissola.  Collection of Muzeum Narodowe (National Museum), Poznań, Poland 

Catur, caturanga, shatranj and chess

I started learning chess the past week. I learned it through chesscademy.com a great (free) website that walks you through the basics, theory and brings you challenging tactics exercise.

I know chess as catur (an Indonesian word which was adapted from Sanskrit). Caturaṅga originated from Gupta Empire, India which was then introduced Persia and adapted to shatranj and then brought to late Medieval Europe and adapted into chess as we know today. If would like to know more about predecessor of chess game, you can read it here

So far in my learning I got this far Tactic Set #4, so much fun to learn.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 7.20.44 AM

Here are some images of chaturanga which I find very intriguing :

Iranian shatranj set, glazed fritware, 12th century. Collection of New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Iranian shatranj set, glazed fritware, 12th century. Collection of New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A manuscript on game Caduranga : CATURANGA SARA SARVASVA  MYSORE, Andra Pradesh, South India, circa 1850. Image from christies.com

A manuscript on game Caduranga : CATURANGA SARA SARVASVA
MYSORE, Andra Pradesh, South India, circa 1850. Image from christies.com

Sofonisba Anguissola

The first image on this post is also an interesting find for me. While trying to find a nice painting of chess playing, I stumble upon one Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625), a contemporary of Shakespeare, she is still alive when Taming of the Shrew was written (ahem!). She is an Italian Renaissance painter with great talent for painting and had lived a long life. She traveled many places while painting and teaching royalties such as Duke of Alba and Elisabeth of Valois (Queen of Phillip II). This painting you see here, was painted by her at the age of early twenties.

Even though she never had the chance to study anatomy thoroughly ( because at that time it was considered offensive for a woman to see, let alone study nudity) her talent was highly praised by Michaelangelo and had a portrait of her painted by Anthony Van Dyck, too. Even a great historian Giorgio Vasari praised her: “Anguissola has shown greater application and better grace than any other woman of our age in her endeavors at drawing; she has thus succeeded not only in drawing, coloring and painting from nature, and copying excellently from others, but by herself has created rare and very beautiful paintings.”

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