The Yoruba tribe is located in Southwestern Nigeria, West Africa. The cultural heritage dates back to the glorious days of the Oyo empire. My designs are based on research about the customs and practices of the period.
The project is to create chess pieces using characters from period Yoruba society. After reviewing the roles of the chess pieces and Yoruba history, I arrived at the following conclusion:
KING ... Oba
QUEEN ... Iyalode
BISHOP ... Oluwo
KNIGHT ... Balogun
ROOK ... Eso
PAWN ... Ilari
Some of the choices were obvious, but in the case of the queen, I opted for IYALODE (a prominent female political figure in society) rather than the AYABA (king's wife) because of the independent economic and military might her office required.