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Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department, 1904–1929

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Rowel Spur

Date:
ca. 1400
Geography:
Catalonia
Culture:
French or Spanish, Catalonia
Medium:
Copper alloy, enameled and gilt
Dimensions:
L. 7 1/4 in. (18.42 cm); L. of neck, 3 in. (7.62 cm); Diam. of rowel, 2 7/8 in. (7.03 cm); Wt. 7 oz. (198.45 g)
Classification:
Equestrian Equipment-Spurs
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
14.25.1737
  • Description

    Gilt spurs were a sign of status that distinguished knights from other riders. Horsemen of lesser rank, such as sergeants or men-at-arms, were permitted only iron or brass spurs. Squires, as knights in training, had the right to wear silvered spurs.

    Early spurs had simple prongs. These prick spurs could easily injure a horse, and by the fourteenth century the much safer rowel spur came into general use. The rowel spur seen here may be of Catalan origin. Its black-and-gold checkered decoration is possibly derived from the armorial device of the counts of Urgell.

  • Provenance

    Ex coll.: Comte de Clermont, Paris; Musée de la Maison des ducs de Lorraine; William H. Riggs, Paris

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
22405

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