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Noblemen and their servants playing chess — Miniature, Al Andalus, 13th century.

I don’t have any information about this image other than the title. I selected it because it reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Lions of Al-Rassan by the brilliant Canadian fantasist Guy Gavriel Kay. (See the permanent link at left for more on Kay.) The book is set in a fantasy realm based on medieval Espana during the period when the Moors were pushed out of their main European stronghold, and it is a magnificent and heartbreaking novel.

When the Lion at his pleasure comes

To the watering place to drink, ah see!

See the lesser beasts of Al-Rassan

Scatter like blown leaves in autumn,

Like air-borne seedlings in the spring,

Like grey clouds that part to let the first star

Of the god shine down upon the earth.

-Guy Gavriel Kay, The Lions of Al-Rassan

(The picture links to a site of historical artworks.)

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