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Dressing in Steel: Part One

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Curb Bit

Date:
16th century
Culture:
possibly French
Medium:
Iron
Dimensions:
L. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm); W. of mouthpiece, 4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 6 oz. (1531 g)
Classification:
Equestrian Equipment-Bits
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
14.25.1800
  • Description

    This rare type of bit is described in a sixteenth-century treatise as "a defense in time of war so that the enemy cannot grab onto it with his hand." Grabbing the bit, or pulling it out of the mouth of an opponent’s horse, would make it difficult or impossible for a rider to control his horse in the press of battle, potentially leading to his defeat or death.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
33544

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