Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Set of Saddle Plates

Date:
ca. 1400
Culture:
Tibetan or Chinese
Medium:
Iron, gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise
Dimensions:
H. 10 7/8 in. (27.6 cm); L. 23 1/2 in. (59.7 cm); W. 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm)
Classification:
Equestrian Equipment-Saddles
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gift of William H. Riggs, by exchange, and Kenneth and Vivian Lam Gift, 1999
Accession Number:
1999.118a–g
Not on view
This set of saddle plates represents a high point in the medium of pierced ironwork, equaling or excelling anything of its type. Each plate is chiseled from a single piece of iron. The long, thin four-clawed dragons, carved in high relief in great detail, are cut entirely free from the surrounding scrollwork ground so that they can move slightly within it. The scroll patterns are undercut to give the appearance of depth and overlap, in addition to the areas where the bodies of the dragons actually do overlap. There is a Wish-Granting Jewel motif made with pieces of blue and green turquoise set in shaped compartments in the center of both the pommel and the cantle, and scattered lotus blossoms made in the same way. The outer edges of the plates are bordered by rows of semicircular pieces of lapis. The iron surfaces of the plates are damascened completely with gold foil, and the precision and fineness of the cross-hatching beneath the gold are exceptional.
[Fabio Rossi, London, until 1999; sold to MMA].
New York. Fuller Building. "Sacred Symbols: The Ritual Art of Tibet," March 24–April 3, 1999, no. 71.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions 1991–2002," September 4, 2002–January 18, 2004, no. 48.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet," April 5–July 4, 2006, no. 111.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009.

London. British Museum. "Ming: Courts and Contacts 1400–1450," September 18, 2014–January 4, 2015.

"Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1998–1999." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Fall 1999), pp. 76–77, ill.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 1998–1999. Renaissance and Baroque Europe." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Fall 1999), pp. 76–77, ill.

Thurman, Robert A. F., and David Weldon. Sacred Symbols: The Ritual Art of Tibet. New York: Sotheby's, New York, 1999. pp. 154–55, no. 71, ill.

Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Morihiro Ogawa. Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions, 1991–2002. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002. pp. 50–52, no. 48, fig. 16.

Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Dirk H. Breiding. The Armored Horse in Europe, 1480–1620. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. p. 19, fig. 12, 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. 8, 15, 27, 74, 148, 172, 214, 216–217, 221, back cover, no. 111, ill.

La Rocca, Donald J. "Tibetan Warriors: The Challenges of Presenting the Warlike Side of a Peaceful Culture." In The Universal Heritage of Arms and Military History: Challenges and Choices in a Changing World, ICOMAM Conference, Vienna 2007. Vienna: Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, 2008. p. 50, fig. 15.

Related Objects

Set of Saddle Plates

Artist: Date: ca. 1400
Accession Number: 1999.118a–g
Date: ca. 1400 Medium: Iron, gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise Accession: 1999.118a–g On view in:Not on view

Sword (Peidao) with Scabbard

Artist: Date: mounting, ca. 1750–1800
Accession Number: 32.75.301a, b
Date: mounting, ca. 1750–1800 Medium: Steel, wood, iron, mother-or-pearl, gold, coral, malachite, lapis lazuli, silk, lacquer Accession: 32.75.301a, b On view in:Not on view

Pair of Stirrups

Artist: Date: 19th–early 20th century
Accession Number: 2014.74a, b
Date: 19th–early 20th century Medium: Iron, gold, silver Accession: 2014.74a, b On view in:Not on view

Socket from a Spearhead or a Ceremonial Staff

Artist: Date: ca. 1607–17
Accession Number: 2005.301.1
Date: ca. 1607–17 Medium: Iron, gold, silver Accession: 2005.301.1 On view in:Not on view

Pair of Stirrups

Artist: Date: 15th–17th century
Accession Number: 2014.72a, b
Date: 15th–17th century Medium: Iron, gold, silver, horn, copper alloy Accession: 2014.72a, b On view in:Not on view