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A carved draught’s-piece or table-man, made from boxwood, with depiction of a soldier fighting a helmeted snail on a wall is in the collection of the British Museum, London (Dept. Britain, Europe and Prehistory), and thought to be of 13th century English origin. The curator’s comments reads as follows “Circular carved pieces such as this one were not necessarily used for Draughts alone – Backgammon is another possibility. There are many examples of tablemen in ivory and bone, with religious, secular and mythical subject-matter” [1].


The scene seems to me a variation on the ‘knight v. snail’ theme (cf. this post where the figure from Pinon was reproduced). The shell is stylised and sinistral, the animal has two tentacles and is humanised.


[1] BML, inv. BEP 1853.0214.2.