Saddle (gser sga)

Date: 15th–17th century

Culture: Tibetan

Medium: Iron, gold, copper, wood, leather

Dimensions: H. 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm); L. 23 3/8 in. (59.4 cm); W. 15 1/4 in. (38.7 cm)

Classification: Equestrian Equipment-Saddles

Credit Line: Purchase, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Gift, 2002

Accession Number: 2002.225


This saddle is remarkable for the quality and extent of its pierced and chiseled decoration, particularly the figural masks worked in low relief in the center of the pommel and cantle plates. These masks are more artistically accomplished and on a larger scale than virtually any other known examples of low-relief ironwork from Tibet or China. The chiseling of the scrollwork is equal to that found on other high-quality Tibetan iron objects, such as cup cases and the fittings for doors of large temples or monasteries, and it compares closely to the pierced ironwork found on the best Tibetan saddles and bridles.