Parade Saddle

German or Tyrolean

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373

About twenty similarly decorated saddles exist, dating from the late fourteenth to the mid-fifteenth century. The shape, with its low, splayed cantle (rear of the seat), was characteristic of eastern European saddles, but the exact place of origin and original purpose of these examples of elaborately carved bone are unknown. Their decoration typically includes, as on the two examples diplayed here, Saint George and the dragon, unicorns, other mythical beasts, and pairs of lovers, often accompanied by romantic expressions in German script. The carving and inconography are reminiscent of Minnekästen, carved boxes that were given as lover's tokens.

Parade Saddle, Bone, polychromy, wood, leather, iron alloy, German or Tyrolean

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Overall view that allows unicorn to be visible