Art/ Collection/ Art Object


10th–11th century
probably East Prussia
Iron, silver
H. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm); W. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm); D. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm); Wt. 4.8 oz. (136.1 g)
Equestrian Equipment-Stirrups
Credit Line:
Gift of Stephen V. Grancsay, 1942
Accession Number:
Not on view
This type of stirrup, with its wide rectangular suspension eye and its flaring sides at the bottom, is characteristic of the Germanic (Viking) populations living around the Baltic and Northern Seas. It evolved from types used by the Avars in Eastern Europe in the 7th and 8th centuries and was brought to Central Europe through the migration of Eastern populations.

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.
Richard Zschille, Grossenhain, Saxony; Oliver H.P. Belmont, N.Y.; Clarence H. Mackay, Roslyn, L.I.
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