Pair of Stirrups


Not on view

These heavy iron cross-form stirrups are decorated in low relief with goats and birds among stylized vegetation. The arms of the crosses display large spiraled circles flanked by palmettes.

Estribos de cruz, as they are called in Spanish, were particularly popular in Mexico during the 18th century, and were used by cavalry. Oversized and very heavy, many of them feature extravagant decoration, sometimes enriched with silver elements. Horses were already at this time a mark of social status in Mexican society, and the display of rich, beautiful, and shiny horse tack was a way to highlight this fact. Despite (or perhaps because of) its popularity, however, this type of stirrup was officially forbidden for soldiers by royal decree in 1772, and then completely in 1778, mostly because of the danger they presented to bystanders.

Pair of Stirrups, Iron, Mexican

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