Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Stirrup

Date:
10th century
Culture:
North European, possibly northern Germany
Medium:
Iron, silver, copper
Dimensions:
H. 7 in. (17.8 cm); W. 4 1/8 in. (10.3 cm); Wt. 8 oz. (228 g)
Classification:
Equestrian Equipment-Stirrups
Credit Line:
Purchase, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Gift, 1999
Accession Number:
1999.159
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 370
If the Vikings are mostly known for being talented sailors, one may forget they were also horse riders, and as in all the Germanic cultures, horses had great importance in their society, in both its social and religious aspects. Equestrian equipment, like stirrups, spurs and bits, are regularly found in Viking burials, among the goods warriors wanted to bring with them to the afterlife. The elite would sometimes even be accompanied by sacrificed horses, a meaningful practice at that time, considering the high economic value of horses.

This stirrup exhibits remnants of an elaborated geometrical decoration of damascened silver and copper. These motifs reproduce textile patterns that were embroidered on fine contemporary clothing.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions 1991–2002," September 4, 2002–January 18, 2004, no. 1.

Seaby, Wilfred A., and Paul Woodfield. "Viking Stirrups from England and Their Background." Medieval Archaeology XXIV (1980). pp. 87–122.

Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Morihiro Ogawa. Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions, 1991–2002. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002. p. 9, no. 1, ill.



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