Purchased from Michel Albert Manoukian, Paris, 7 April 1969 (receipt on file).
The feat of carving rock crystal, an extremely hard element, was mastered by the Fatimids in the tenth century as evident from the magnificent, but limited, corpus of remaining works, including ewers, flasks and chess pieces. It was the abundant wealth of the Fatimid caliphs that permitted them to commission works of such refinement as the present chess piece. A similar example is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv. no. 669:1, 2-1883), described as “probably a king".
The surface completely eroded with associated encrustation, except to cuts, as viewed. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."