North European, possibly northern Germany

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373

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.

This stirrup exhibits remnants of an elaborated geometrical decoration of damascened silver and copper. These motifs reproduce textile patterns that were embroidered on fine contemporary clothing.

Stirrup, Iron, silver, copper, North European, possibly northern Germany

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