Tibetan or Mongolian
Iron, leather, gold, brass or copper alloy, and textile; H. 22 1/2 in. (57.2 cm), W. 24 7/8 in. (63.2 cm)
Purchase, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Gift, 2004 (2004.402)
Tibetan shaffrons are relatively rare; the majority of surviving examples were acquired by museums in the early twentieth century. This shaffron is by far the most elaborately decorated of any recorded up to this point. The quality and execution of its lavish gold and silver damascening rank among the best examples of Tibetan decorated ironwork of this kind, suggesting that it would have been owned by a high-ranking general, if not a king. A carbon 14 test of one of its leather laces resulted in a date range of 1450 to 1650, which coincides almost exactly with the period of the last two secular Tibetan monarchies: the Rinpung (14351565) and the Kings of Tsang (15661641).