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Initial A with the Count of Edessa and the Prince of Antioch Playing Dice
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Initial A with the Count of Edessa and the Prince of Antioch Playing Dice


Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description We usually associate playing games with relaxation and fun, but in certain contexts, they can be deadly serious. In this image, the count of Edessa and the prince of Antioch, Crusade leaders in 12th-century Syria, use game playing as an act of defiance, for they sit in their tent playing instead of fighting alongside an ally in an important battle. Although the checkered board suggests a chess game, close examination reveals not chess pieces but dice-perhaps more fitting as they gamble on their future.
Exhibitions
  • Checkmate! Medieval People at Play. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2010.
Provenance Gordon of Buthlaw, mid 19th century [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Bertram, 4th Earl of Ashburnham, London, 1861, no. CLIV; Sale, Sotheby's, London, March 16, 1903, lot 689; Léon Gruel, Paris, March 16, 1903, by purchase [Gruel and Engelmann bookplate 'No 138']; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1903, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1903

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Period
ca. 1295-1300
Medium
parchment with ink, paint and gold
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
W.137.157V
Measurements
H: 13 3/8 x W: 9 5/8 in. (34 x 24.5 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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