Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense)

15th–17th century
Tibetan or Mongolian
Iron, leather, brass or copper alloy
H. 21 in. (53.3 cm); W. 20 1/4 in. (51.4 cm); Wt. 6 lb. 13.2 oz. (3095.8 g)
Equestrian Equipment-Shaffrons
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Collection of Giovanni P. Morosini, presented by his daughter Giulia, by exchange; Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Funds from various donors, by exchange; and Fletcher Fund, by exhange, 1997
Accession Number:
Not on view
This shaffron is an excellent example of what appears to be a standard form, consisting mainly of a leather ground covered with small square iron plates, which are sewn to the ground by leather laces threaded through a single hole and a small boss at the corner of each plate. Shaped iron plates are laced down the center and at each cheek. The leaf-shaped finial of the vertical rib attached to the central iron panel is very similar to those found on Tibetan cane shields, leather arm defenses, and leather boxes.
[Art dealer, London, until 1997; sold to MMA].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions 1991–2002," September 4, 2002–January 18, 2004, no. 47.

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. 50, no. 47, ill.

La Rocca, Donald J. Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. pp. 102–103, no. 28, ill.

Related Objects

Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense)

Date: late 15th–early 17th century Medium: Iron, leather, gold, silver, brass or copper alloy, textile Accession: 2004.402 On view in:Not on view

Pair of Stirrups (Yob)

Date: possibly 12th–14th century Medium: Iron, gold, silver Accession: 1999.119a, b On view in:Gallery 378

Matchlock Musket

Date: 19th century Medium: Iron, wood, leather, brass, copper Accession: 36.25.2174 On view in:Gallery 378

Armored Cavalryman

Date: 18th–19th century Medium: Steel, iron, gold, silver, copper alloy, brass, wood, leather, textile, bone, horn, silk, hair, turquoise, lead Accession: 36.25.25,.28,.351,.476,.583,.842,.2174... On view in:Gallery 378

Saddle (Gser Sga) Made for Yuthok Tashi Dundrup (g.yu thog bkra shis don grub, 1906–1983)

Date: ca. 1942–46 Medium: Copper alloy, iron, gold, turquoise, wood, leather, textile (silk, cotton) Accession: 2008.81a On view in:Gallery 378