Pair of Rowel Spurs


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 307

This pair of gilded spurs is adorned with engraved geometrical and floral designs in a style commonly seen on south German examples. The wide band forming the heel plate, as well as the scrollwork, seem directly inspired by contemporary Bohemian spurs.

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, increased the distance between a rider’s feet and the horse’s flank. Thus, spurs with long necks allowed the rider to spur his horse without excess movement of his legs. 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 a knighting ceremony.

Pair of Rowel Spurs, Copper alloy, gold, German

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