A Richly Illustrated Manuscript
"El libro del axedrez dados et tablas," by Alfonso X "The Wise," completed in 1283, a year before the death of the King, was carried out on parchment with a format of 28 x 40 cm. It is written and illustrated in color and with gold leaf, with a profusion of scenes. In total, it bears 150 miniatures in a good state of conservation.
Paradigm of Alfonso X's cultural work, the 150 drawings in the Book of Chess, Dice and Board Games are one of the most important testimonies of this king's court painting, both in their iconographic and stylistic characteristics and in the court context and the hermetic culture they reveal: a monument of symbolic hermetic literature of the era, turned by means of game into the genuine transmitter of knowledge who travel from the far East and are lost bit by bit in each transmission.
One of the most beautiful miniatures (fol. 71v) shows some dice players in a garden in Seville (?) with a cypress tree, a palm tree and an orange tree. The figures stand out on the background as it happens in the miniatures of the Rich Code of Cantigas de Santa Maria.
Excellent and unique piece of work in its gender and in the history of chess, completed seven hundred years ago, it documentally introduces the game of chess into Europe and confers it the range corresponding to a game of kings, noble, and clever people.
We have 2 facsimiles of the manuscript "Alfonso X The Wise's Book of Chess, Dice and Board Games":
- Libro de los Juegos de Ajedrez, Dados y Tablas de Alfonso X el Sabio (Parchment Facsimile) facsimile edition published by Scriptorium, 2010
- Alfonso X el Sabio - Libro de los Juegos, de Ajedrez, Dados y Tablas facsimile edition published by Vicent Garcia Editores, 1987