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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pair of Rowel Spurs

15th century
Copper alloy, gold
L. of each 8 7/8 in. (22.6 cm); W. of each 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm); D. of each 1 7/16 in. (3.7 cm)
Equestrian Equipment-Spurs
Credit Line:
Gift of Stephen V. Grancsay, 1942
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 307
Each of these elegant gilded spurs is subtly decorated with a foliate rowel, some moldings on the heel and hooks shaped as ivy leaves. In the 15th century, rowel spurs with very long necks were of common use in Western Europe. At this period, the elevated war saddles and the very specific riding style, with long stirrup leathers and legs extended forward, had the consequence of taking away the rider’s feet from the horse’s flank. Thus, these long necks gave them easier access without having to disturb the rider’s position. As a knight’s status was closely related to his horse, spurs became one of the symbols of chivalry, and one of the tokens given to him during his knighting.
Ex coll.: Clarence Mackay, Roslyn, New York; Stephen V. Grancsay, New York.
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