Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense)

Tibetan or Mongolian

Not on view

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 known example. 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 was made for a very high ranking general, if not a king. A carbon-14 test of one of its leather laces resulted in a date range of 1450–1650, coinciding almost exactly with the period of the last two secular Tibetan monarchies: the Rinpung (1435–1565) and the Kings of Tsang (1566–1641).

Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense), Iron, leather, gold, silver, brass or copper alloy, textile, Tibetan or Mongolian

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