Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji: A Deluxe New Art Book Presents Hokusai’s Masterpiece, Including “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa”

Like most Japanese masters of ukiyo-e woodblock art, Katsushika Hokusai is best known mononymously. But he’s even better known by his work — and by one piece of work in particular, The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Even those who’ve never heard the name Hokusai have seen that print, arresting in its somehow calm turbulence, or at least they’ve seen one of its countless modern parodies and tributes (most recently, a large-scale homage in the medium of LEGO). But when he died in 1849, the prolific and long-lived artist left behind a body of work amounting to more than 30,000 paintings, sketches, prints, and illustrations (as well as a how-to-draw book).

None of those 30,000 works are quite as famous as his Great Wave off Kanagawa, but very few indeed are as ambitions as the series to which it belongs, Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. It is that two-year project, the artistic fruit of an obsession with Fuji and its environs, that Taschen has taken as the material for their new book Hokusai: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.




Produced in a 224-page “XXL edition,” it gathers “the finest impressions from institutions and collections worldwide in the complete set of 46 plates alongside 114 color variations” — all sewn together, appropriately, with “Japanese binding.”

Not only does the book reproduce Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji with Taschen’s signature attention to image quality, it presents The Great Wave off Kanagawa in a way few actually see it: in context. For that most widely published of all Hokusai prints launched the series, which continued on to Fine Wind, Clear Morning, Thunderstorm Beneath the Summit, and Kajikazawa in Kai Province, that last being an image held in especially high esteem by ukiyo-e enthusiasts. One such enthusiast, east Asian art historian Andreas Marks, has performed this book’s editing and writing, as he did with Taschen’s previous Japanese Woodblock Prints (1680–1938). Experiencing the whole of Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, more than one reader will no doubt become as transfixed by Hokusai as Hokusai was by his homeland’s most beloved mountain. You can pick up a copy of Hokusai: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji here. Find more beautiful Taschen art books here.

Note that Taschen is a partner of ours. So if you purchase a book, it helps support Open Culture.

Related Content:

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai: An Introduction to the Iconic Japanese Woodblock Print in 17 Minutes

The Evolution of The Great Wave off Kanazawa: See Four Versions That Hokusai Painted Over Nearly 40 Years

The Met Puts 650+ Japanese Illustrated Books Online: Marvel at Hokusai’s One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji and More

Get Free Drawing Lessons from Katsushika Hokusai, Who Famously Painted The Great Wave off Kanagawa: Read His How-To Book, Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawings

A Beautiful New Book of Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Visual History of 200 Japanese Masterpieces Created Between 1680 and 1938

See Classic Japanese Woodblocks Brought Surreally to Life as Animated GIFs

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Discover Japan’s Oldest Surviving Cookbook Ryori Monogatari (1643)

Maybe your interest in Japan was first stoked by the story of the seventeenth-century shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu and his campaign to unify the country. Or maybe it was Japanese food. Either way, culinary and historical subjects have a way of intertwining in every land — not to mention making countless possible literary and cultural connections along the way. For the curious mind, enjoying a Japanese meal may well lead, sooner or later, to reading Japan’s oldest cookbook. Published in 1643, the surviving edition of Ryori Monogatari (variously translated as “Narrative of Actual Food Preparation” or, more simply, “A Tale of Food”) resides at the Tokyo National Museum, but you can read a facsimile at the Tokyo Metropolitan Library.

Translator Joshua L. Badgley did just that in order to produce an online English version of the venerable recipe collection. In an introductory essay, he describes his translation process and offers some historical context as well. Ryori Monogatari was written early in the era of the Tokugawa shogunate, which had been founded by the aforementioned Ieyasu.




“For the previous 120 years, the country had been engulfed in civil wars,” but this “Age of Warring States” also “saw the first major contact with Europeans through the Portuguese, who landed in 1542, and later saw the invasion of Korea.” The foreigners “brought with them new ideas, and access to a new world of food, which continues to this day in the form of things like tempura and kasutera (castella).”

Consolidated by Ieyasu, Japan’s subsequent 250-year-long peace “saw an increased emphasis on scholarship, and many books on the history of Japan were written in this time. In addition, travel journals were becoming popular, indicating various specialties and delicacies in each village.” The now-unknown author of Ryori Monogatari seems to have gone around collecting recipes that had been passed down orally for generations — hence the sometimes vague and approximate instructions. But unusually, note publishers Red Circle, the book also “includes recipes for game at a time when eating meat was viewed by most as a taboo.” In it one finds instructions for preparing venison, hare, boar, and even raccoon dog.

Your fascination with Japan might not have begun with a meal of raccoon dog. But Ryori Monogatari also includes recipes for sashimi, sushi, udon and yakitori, all eaten so widely around the world today that their names no longer merit italics. Taken together, the book’s explanations of its dishes open a window on how the Japanese ate during the Edo period, named for the capital city we now know as Tokyo, which lasted from 1603 to 1863. (In the video just above, Tasting History vlogger Max Miller makes a typical bowl of Edo noodles, based on a recipe from the 1643 cookbook.) “From the mid-Edo period,” says the Tokyo National Museum, “restaurants began to emerge across Japan, reflecting a new trend toward enjoying food as recreation.” By the late Edo period, an era captured by ukiyo-e master Hiroshige, eating out had become a national pastime. And not so long thereafter, going for Japanese food would become a culinary, historical, and cultural treat savored the world over.

Related Content:

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Cookpad, the Largest Recipe Site in Japan, Launches New Site in English

1,000+ Historic Japanese Illustrated Books Digitized & Put Online by the Smithsonian: From the Edo & Meji Eras (1600-1912)

Tasting History: A Hit YouTube Series Shows How to Cook the Foods of Ancient Greece & Rome, Medieval Europe, and Other Places & Periods

The New York Times Makes 17,000 Tasty Recipes Available Online: Japanese, Italian, Thai & Much More

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

B.F. Skinner Demonstrates His “Teaching Machine,” the 1950s Automated Learning Device

The name B.F. Skinner often provokes darkly humorous references to such bizarre ideas as “Skinner boxes,” which put babies in cage-like cribs, and put the cribs in windows as if they were air-conditioners, leaving the poor infants to raise themselves. Skinner was hardly alone in conducting experiments that flouted, if not flagrantly ignored, the ethical concerns now central to experimentation on humans. The code of conduct on torture and abuse that ostensibly governs members of the American Psychological Association did not exist. Radical behaviorists like Skinner were redefining the field. His work has come to stand for some of its worst abuses.

But Skinner has been mischaracterized in the popularization of his ideas — a popularization, it’s true, in which he enthusiastically took part. The actual “Skinner box” was cruel enough — an electrified cage for animal experimentation — but it was not the infant window box that often goes by the name. This was, instead, called an “aircrib” or “baby-tender,” and it was loaded with creature comforts like climate control and a complement of toys. “In our compartment,” Skinner wrote in a 1945 Ladies Home Journal article, “the waking hours are invariably active and happy ones.” Describing his first test subject, his own child, he wrote, “our baby acquitted an amusing, almost apelike skill in the use of her feet.”




Skinner was not a soulless monster who put babies in cages, but he also did not understand mammalian babies’ need for physical touch. Likewise, when it came to education, Skinner had ideas that can seem contrary to what we know works best, namely a variety of methods that honor different learning styles and abilities. Educators in the 1950s embraced far more regimented practices, and Skinner believed humans could be trained just like other animals. He treated an early experiment in classroom technology just like an experiment teaching pigeons to play ping-pong. It was, in fact, “the foundation for his education technology,” says education journalist Audrey Watters, “that we’ll build machines and they’ll give students — just like pigeons — positive reinforcement and students — just like pigeons — will learn new skills.”

To this end, Skinner created what he called the Teaching Machine in 1954 while he taught psychology at Harvard. He was hardly the first to design such a device, but he was the first to invent a machine based on behaviorist principles, as Abhishek Solanki explains in a Medium article:

The teaching machine was composed of mainly a program, which was a system of combined teaching and test items that carried the student gradually through the material to be learned. The “machine” was composed of a fill-in-the-blank method on either a workbook or on a computer. If the student was correct, he/she got reinforcement and moved on to the next question. If the answer was incorrect, the student studied the correct answer to increasing the chances of getting reinforced next time.

Consisting of a wooden box, a metal lid with cutouts, and various paper discs with questions and answers written on them, the machine did adjust for different students’ needs, in a way. Skinner “noted that the learning process should be divided into a large number of very small steps and reinforcement must be dependent upon the completion of each step. He believed this was the best possible arrangement for learning because it took into account the rate of learning for each individual student.” He was again inspired by his own children, coming up with the machine after visiting his daughter’s school and deciding he could improve on things.

The method and means of learning, as you’ll see in the demonstration films above, were not individualized. “There was very, very little freedom in Skinner’s vision,” says Watters. “Indeed Skinner wrote a very well-known book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity in the early 1970s, in which he said freedom doesn’t exist.” While Skinner’s machine didn’t itself become widely used, his ideas about education, and education technology, are still very much with us. We see Skinner’s machine “taking new forms with adaptive teaching and e-learning,” writes Solanki.

And we see the darker side of his design in classroom technology, says Watters, in an industry that profits from alienating, one-size-fits all ed-tech solutions. But she also sees “students who are resisting and communities who are building practices that serve their needs rather than serving the needs of engineers.” Skinner’s theories of conditioning were and are incredibly persuasive, but his reductive views of human nature seem to leave out more than they explain. Learn more about the history of teaching machines in Watters’ new book, Teaching Machines: The History of Personalized Learning.

Related Content: 

The Little Albert Experiment: The Perverse 1920 Study That Made a Baby Afraid of Santa Claus & Bunnies

Hermann Rorschach’s Original Rorschach Test: What Do You See? (1921)

A Brief Animated Introduction to Noam Chomsky’s Linguistic Theory, Narrated by The X-Files‘ Gillian Anderson

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

A Billion Years of Tectonic-Plate Movement in 40 Seconds: A Quick Glimpse of How Our World Took Shape

We all remember learning about tectonic plates in our school science classes. Or at least we do if we went to school in the 1960s or later, that being when the theory of plate tectonics — which holds, broadly speaking, that the Earth’s surface comprises slowly moving slabs of rock — gained wide acceptance. But most everyone alive today will have been taught about Pangea. An implication of Alfred Wegener’s theory of “continental drift,” first proposed in the 1910s, that the single gigantic landmass once dominated the planet.

Despite its renown, however, Pangea makes only a brief appearance in the animation of Earth’s history above. Geological scientists now categorize it as just one of several “supercontinents” that plate tectonics has gathered together and broken up over hundreds and hundreds of millennia. Others include Kenorland, in existence about 2.6 billion years ago, and Rodinia, 900 million years ago; Pangea, the most recent of the bunch, came apart around 175 million years ago. You can see the process in action in the video, which compresses a billion years of geological history into a mere 40 seconds.




At the speed of 25 million years per second, and with outlines drawn in, the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates becomes clearly understandable — more so, perhaps, than you found it back in school. “On a human timescale, things move in centimeters per year, but as we can see from the animation, the continents have been everywhere in time,” as Michael Tetley, co-author of the paper “Extending full-plate tectonic models into deep time,” put it to Euronews. Antarctica, which “we see as a cold, icy inhospitable place today, actually was once quite a nice holiday destination at the equator.”

Climate-change trends suggest that we could be vacationing in Antarctica again before long — a troubling development in other ways, of course, not least because it underscores the impermanence of Earth’s current arrangement, the one we know so well. “Our planet is unique in the way that it hosts life,” says Dietmar Müller, another of the paper’s authors. “But this is only possible because geological processes, like plate tectonics, provide a planetary life-support system.” Earth won’t always look like it does today, in other words, but it’s thanks to the fact that it doesn’t look like it did a billion years ago that we happen to be here, able to study it at all.

Related Content:

The Plate Tectonic Evolution of the Earth Over 500 Million Years: Animated Video Takes You from Pangea, to 250 Million Years in the Future

A Map Shows Where Today’s Countries Would Be Located on Pangea

Paper Animation Tells Curious Story of How a Meteorologist Theorized Pangaea & Continental Drift (1910)

Find the Address of Your Home on Pangaea: Open Source Project Lets You Explore the Ancient Land Masses of Our Planet

What Earth Will Look Like 100 Million Years from Now

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

 

Leon Theremin Advertises the First Commercial Production Run of His Revolutionary Electronic Instrument (1930)

“The theremin specifically, and Leon Theremin’s work in general is the biggest, fattest, most important cornerstone of the whole electronic music medium. That’s were it all began.” — Robert Moog

In the mid-twentieth century, the theremin — patented by its namesake inventor Leon Theremin (Lev Sergeyevich Termen) in 1928 — became something of a novelty, its sound associated with sci-fi and horror movies. This is unfortunate given its pedigree as the first electronic musical instrument, and the only musical instrument one plays without touching. Such facts alone were not enough to sell the theremin to its first potential players and listeners. The inventor and his protege Clara Rockmore realized they had proved the theremin was not only suitable for serious music but for the most beloved and well-known of compositions, a strategy not unlike the Moog synthesizer’s popularization on Wendy Carlos’ Switched on Bach.

Photo by Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, shared under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License

For Theremin and Rockmore, demonstrating the new instrument meant more than making records. When he arrived in the United States in 1928, the inventor had just wrapped a long European tour. He showed off his new musical device in the U.S. at the New York Philharmonic. “At first, Theremin’s instruments were limited to just a few that the inventor himself personally made,” notes RCATheremin.




He then “trained a small group of musicians in the art of playing them.” The sound began to catch on with such popular musicians as crooner Rudy Vallée, “who developed such a fondness for the theremin,” writes Theremin player Charlie Draper, “that he commissioned his own custom instrument from Leon Theremin, and featured it in performances of his orchestra, The Connecticut Yankees.”

Photo by Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, shared under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License

In the same year that Vallée and Charles Henderson released their popular song “Deep Night,” Theremin granted production rights to the instrument to RCA, and the company produced a limited test run of 500 machines. As RCATheremin points out, these were hardly accessible to the average person:

Factory-made RCA Theremins were first demonstrated in music stores in several major U.S. cities on October 14, 1929 and were marketed primarily in 1929 and 1930. Theremins were luxury items, priced at $175.00, not including vacuum tubes and RCA’s recommended Model 106 Electrodynamic Loudspeaker, which brought the total cost of buying a complete theremin outfit up to about $232.00. This translates to about $3,217 in today’s currency.

The prohibitive price of the RCA Theremin would doom the design when the stock market crashed later that year. Other factors contributed to its demise, such as a “significant miscalculation on the part of RCA,” who encouraged “the perception that the theremin was easy to play.” Advertising copy claimed it involved “nothing more complicated than waving one’s hands in the air!”

As masterful players, Theremin and Rockmore might have made it look easy, but as with any musical instrument, true skill on the therein requires talent and practice. To advertise the new commercial design by RCA, Theremin himself appeared in “the relatively new medium of sound film” in 1930, playing Henderson and Vallée’s “Deep Night” (top). Draper and pianist Paul Jackson recreate the moment just above, on a fully restored RCA theremin nicknamed “Electra.”

Only around 136 of the RCA theremins survive, some of them made by Theremin himself and others by different engineers. They are now among the rarest electric devices of any kind. See one of them, serial number 100023, further up, a resident of the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, UK, and learn much more about the rare RCA Theremins here.

Related Content:

Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” Played With 167 Theremins Placed Inside Matryoshka Dolls in Japan

Meet Clara Rockmore, the Pioneering Electronic Musician Who First Rocked the Theremin in the Early 1920s

Watch Jimmy Page Rock the Theremin, the Early Soviet Electronic Instrument, in Some Hypnotic Live Performances

Wendy Carlos Demonstrates the Moog Synthesizer on the BBC (1970)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness.

Watch Footage of the Allies Rolling Through a Defeated German Town in April, 1945: Restored & Colorized with AI

Early April, 1945. The Soviets are closing in on Germany, liberating Warsaw, Krakow, and Budapest. American troops have crossed the Rhine. Adolf Hitler won’t live to see May. World War II is coming to an end. This footage, taken from film by American troops in and around Nordhausen, Germany, shows the wreckage of a defeated nation. Enhanced by AI into 60fps, with color and atmospheric sound added, it’s another of YouTube’s increasing library of old footage that looks like it was shot yesterday. (Unfortunately, the video has changed the film’s ratio, widening all the humans in it.)

The original film—you can watch it here at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum—has an interesting history itself. Shot by a member of the US Army Signal Corps, the film was kept in the National Archives and Records Administration until being unearthed by Douglas Hackney while researching his grandfather who served in the war. (Apparently he is seen in one of the other films in the original collection.) The digitization was then gifted to the Holocaust Memorial Museum.




The 60fps version is assembled from several reels. We see fighting in a forest outside Nordhausen, then a gathering of captured Nazi soldiers, then troops celebrating with freed prisoners with some shots of liquor, a bit of morning downtime, and the effects of allied bombing.

Nordhausen was the sight of the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp, built in August of 1943 so Nazis could use its prisoners as slave labor, digging tunnels into the nearby hillside for German factories related to the V-2 rocket program.

According to the Holocaust history website, remember.org:

On April 11th, the 104th Infantry Division entered the Dora camp and the 3rd Armored Division entered the Boelcke-Kaserne subcamp. Although members of the VII Corps had been forewarned there was a prison camp, they certainly could not have expected the inhumane atrocities they were about to witness. The dead and near-dead were everywhere, piled upon one another, and immediate medical attention was given to the few survivors. There were 3000 corpses and 750 emaciated survivors that were abandoned by the SS.

Of the 60,000 prisoners to enter the Dora-Mittelbau camps, it is estimated that 13,000-18,000 died in the camp. Common causes of death included tuberculosis, pneumonia, starvation, dysentery, and trauma.

One can hope these 60fps enhanced videos continue to be uploaded to YouTube. Personally, the colorization adds little, but as a window into time really not that long ago (and with neo-Nazis still kicking around) we need reminders of where it can all lead without our vigilance.

Related Content:

Real D-Day Landing Footage, Enhanced & Colorized with Artificial Intelligence (June 6, 1944)

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Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

Hear Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Played on Original Baroque Instruments

“Subtle and brilliant at the same time, they are a microcosm of Baroque music, with an astonishingly vast sample of that era’s emotional universe.” — Ted Libbey 

The portfolio, the demo, the head shot, the resume…. These are not materials made for general consumption, much less the praise and admiration of posterity. But not every applicant is Johann Sebastian Bach, who wrote his six Brandenburg concertos, in essence, “because, like pretty much everyone throughout history, Bach needed a job,” notes String Ovation. In 1721, he applied for a position with the Margrave of Brandenburg, younger brother of King Frederick Wilhelm I of Prussia, by sending the music: “It’s one of the few manuscripts that Bach wrote out himself, rather than give to a copyist…. At the time, Bach was the Kapellmeister in the small town of Cöthen. Working for His Royal Highness would have been a seriously upward move.”

He didn’t get the job. Indeed, it seems his application was ignored, and nearly lost several times throughout history. Now, Bach’s calling cards are some of the most virtuoso compositions of Baroque music we know. “Each concerto is a concerto grosso, a concerto that’s a continuous interplay of small groups of soloists and full orchestra…. The range of instruments with solos throughout the six concertos was designed to give opportunities to show the potential of nearly every instrument in the orchestra. Even the recorder got a solo.” The six together present themselves as an anthology of sorts, “a Baroque musical travelogue moving through ‘the courtly elegance of the French suite, the exuberance of the Italian solo concerto and the gravity of German counterpoint.’”




These pieces do not only demonstrate Bach’s compositional mastery; they also represent his “ultimate view,” as the Netherlands Bach Society points out, “of the most important large-scale instrumental genre of his day: the concerto.” In the third of these works, for example, he makes the “surprising” choice to compose for “three violins, three violas, three cellos and basso continuo. In other words, 3×3, which is a rational choice you would expect from a modernist like Pierre Boulez, rather than a Baroque composer like Bach.” In order to play these pieces the way Bach intended them to be heard, Ted Libbey writes at NPR, they must be played on the original instruments for which he composed, something a growing number of ensembles have been doing.

Voices of Music, one of the most prominent ensembles recovering the original sounds of Bach’s time, performs Concerto Number Three in G Major at the top and Concerto Number Six in B Flat just above, another surprising arrangement for the time. The final Brandenburg Concerto also upsets the musical order of things again: “Violins — usually the golden boys of the orchestra,” writes the Netherlands Bach Society, “are conspicuous by their absence! Instead, two violas play the leading role. As the highest parts, they ‘play first fiddle’ as soloists, supported by two viola da gambas, a cello, double bass and harpsichord.” The Margrave of Brandenburg, it seems had little time or interest, and never had these pieces performed by his ensemble, which may have lacked the skill and instrumentation. After hearing this music in its original glory, we can be grateful Bach’s handwritten resume survived the neglect.

Related Content: 

Hear 10 of Bach’s Pieces Played on Original Baroque Instruments

The Authentic Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: Watch a Performance Based on Original Manuscripts & Played with 18th-Century Instruments

Watch J.S. Bach’s “Air on the G String” Played on the Actual Instruments from His Time

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Watch Artisans Make Hand-Carved Championship Chess Sets: Each Knight Takes Two Hours

Whether because of the popularity of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit or because of how much time indoors the past year and a half has entailed, chess has boomed lately. Luckily for those would-be chessmasters who’ve had their interest piqued, everything they need to learn the game is available free online. But the deeper one gets into any given pursuit, the greater one’s desire for concrete representations of that interest. In the case of chess players, how many, at any level, have transcended the desire for a nice board and pieces? And how many have never dreamed of owning one of the finest chess sets money can buy?

Such a set appears in the Business Insider video above. “You can pick up a plastic set for $20 dollars, but a wooden set certified for the World Chess Championship costs $500,” says its narrator. “Much of the value of a high-quality of the set comes down to how well just one piece is made: the knight.”




Properly carved by a master artisan, each knight — with its horse’s head, the only realistic piece in chess — takes about two hours. Very few are qualified for the job, and one knight carver appears in an interview to explain that it took him five or six years to learn it, as against the four or five months required to master carving the other pieces.

The workshop introduced in this video is located in Amritsar (also home to the Golden Temple and its enormous free kitchen, previously featured here in Open Culture). To those just starting to learn about chess, India may seem an unlikely place, but in fact no country has a longer history with the game. “Chess has been played for over 1,000 years, with some form of the game first appearing in India around the sixth century,” says the video’s narrator. “Over the past two centuries, high-level competitions have drawn international interest.” For most of that period, fluctuations in public enthusiasm for chess have resulted in proportionate fluctuations in the demand for chess sets, much of which is satisfied by large-scale industrial production. But the most experienced players presumably feel satisfaction only when handling a knight carved to artisanal perfection.

Related Content:

Learn How to Play Chess Online: Free Chess Lessons for Beginners, Intermediate Players & Beyond

A Brief History of Chess: An Animated Introduction to the 1,500-Year-Old Game

Man Ray Designs a Supremely Elegant, Geometric Chess Set in 1920–and It Now Gets Re-Issued

Marcel Duchamp, Chess Enthusiast, Created an Art Deco Chess Set That’s Now Available via 3D Printer

The Bauhaus Chess Set Where the Form of the Pieces Artfully Show Their Function (1922)

A Beautiful Short Documentary Takes You Inside New York City’s Last Great Chess Store

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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