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A unfolding case used for playing backgammon, chess and so-called Polish draughts is an example of the activity of workshops operating in Eger in the 17th and at the beginning of the 18th centuries. Their works enjoyed popularity in Europe at that time, due to their interesting designs and unique method of colourful relief intarsia applied for ornamentation.

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A unfolding case used for playing backgammon, chess and so-called Polish draughts is an example of the activity of workshops operating in Eger in the 17th and at the beginning of the 18th centuries. Their works enjoyed popularity in Europe at that time, due to their interesting designs and unique method of colourful relief intarsia applied for ornamentation.
The scene on the lid, encompassed by a frame decorated with polychrome flowers, depicts the personification of Flora with a collection of tulips and carnations, set against a background of a gazebo with a columned portico, as well as a garden with a fountain and geometric flower beds. In the background a town can be seen. In the upper right corner, and escutcheon is placed. There is also an ornamented frame on the opposite lid which contains a chessboard with alternate light and dark squares with fruit and flower intarsia inserted among them. When the case is open, one can see two backgammon boards replete with stamped dark frames. The game boards are created of obelisks with intarsia, with cartouches and banners, finished with a sphere, as well as of fish tails emerging from a flower calyx, intertwined with a grapevine. It is a reference to the decorations created in the 17th century, honouring important (usually political) events, with obelisks symbolizing wisdom and glory as one of their main elements.
Similar decorative motifs, including depictions of Flora, are present (with small changes) in other works from Eger, e.g. on the case which can be found in the Regensburg Museum collection, attributed to one of the leading artists of Eger, Johann Karl Haberstumpf. The method of creating chessboard squares with single flowers against a dark background and bunches of fruit against a light one can also be found on other cases attributed to Haberstumpf's workshop.

Elaborated by Stanisława Link-Lenczowska (Wawel Royal Castle), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

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