Saddle (gser sga), Iron, gold, copper, wood, leather, Tibetan

Saddle (gser sga)

15th–17th century
Iron, gold, copper, wood, leather
H. 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm); L. 23 3/8 in. (59.4 cm); W. 15 1/4 in. (38.7 cm)
Equestrian Equipment-Saddles
Credit Line:
Purchase, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Gift, 2002
Accession Number:
Not on view
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.
Inscription: Written in black on the leather underneath the bow of the pommel: rdor brag (possibly a proper name).
Private collection, Germany (until 2002; sold through Christie's, New York, private treaty sale, to MMA, 2002).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet," April 5–July 4, 2006, no. 112.

Christie's, New York. Indian and Southeast Asian Art. New York: Christie's, New York, March 21, 2001. p. 137, no. 150, 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. 5, 15–16, 27, 167, 172, 218–19, 221–22, no. 112, ill.