Padded saddle. [JN 2/9/97]

Place details: N AMERICA. USA. Unknown. Cultural Group: Plains Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Animal Leather Skin / Porcupine Quill / Tooth / Wood Plant / Glass / Pigment / ?. Processes: Quillwork / Padded / Painted / Stitched / Carved / Perforated / ?. Dimensions: Saddle. Max L = 480 mm W = 340 mm [excluding flaps]. Crupper Max L [excluding ties] = 730 mm Maker: Unknown Field Collector: Unknown When Collected: ?Prior to 1880 Other Owners: Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers. This object was listed in the Delivery Catalogue as having been transferred from South Kensington Museum in 1884. It was delivered to South Kensington Museum in February 1880. It was probably displayed at South Kensington Museum between 1880 - 1884. PRM Source: Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers founding collection Acquired: Donated 1884 PR No.: 15/ 10513 Documentation: See RDF PRM Image: PR 70 R8 10, 70 R8 11 [crupper]; CS113.10

KEYWORD: Saddle / Stirrup Animal Harness / Horse Accessory / CLASS: Animal Gear / ?.

Object description: The saddle is soft padded hide with no cantel or pommel. It is almost rectangular in shape but the sides that sit on the flank of the horse are slightly cut away into a curve. The edge of the saddle is bound with red, black, blue and white quillwork. The four corners of the saddle each have an embroidered quillwork motif of concentric circles in white red blue/green and black. Overlaying the saddle and stitched to it is an additional rectangular piece of hide, the edges cut to a zig-zag and crenellated pattern. This piece of hide would fall down the side of the horse as flaps to act as thigh protectors. The crupper is attached to the saddle with hide ties. It comprises a rectangular piece of hide decorated with quillwork in repeated geometric/ squared patterns in black, red, blue, cream and yellow/green. The long sides of the rectangle are flanked with hide, each bound with quillwork on the upper portion. At the point where the quillwork stops there is a thread which attaches all the strands of the hide fringe together. Yellow glass beads are threaded onto this connecting thread, so that each thread of the fringe is separated by a single 'connector' bead. Parts of the lower portion of the fringe show evidence of red pigment. At the tail end of the crupper is a semi-circular piece of hide with red, white and blue quillwork. This is attached to a hide loop which goes around the horse's tail. Apart from the padded end, the loop is decorated with quillwork in red, blue, yellow and black. This crupper loop has a decorative hide flap attached on either side, each painted with a central motif of a circle with a zig-zag pointed triangle border containing seven smaller circles. The paint colours are red and black. There is a further row of painted black circles on the lower edge of each flap, which is in turn trimmed with a hide fringe with some quill binding and elk teeth attached. The total length of the crupper (excluding ties) is 730 mm. Although it comprises a saddle plus stirrups and crupper they all seem pretty firmly attached and the object has therefore been numbered as one. This saddle also has a crupper attached. [JN 2/9/97]

Accession Book IV entry - 1884.51.1 - 19 = Stirrups Saddles Spurs - Obsolete padded leather saddle with quill embroidery and elk-tooth pendants; with wooden stirrups of Spanish type based on Moorish form Plain Indian N America [Drawing]

Delivery Catalogue I entry - Miscellaneous Objects Indian saddle ornamented with porcupine quills (North America) 127 15/ 10513 Screen 134 Taken from various cases

'Green book' entry - South Kensington Receipts, 17 February 1880 - 1 North American Indian saddle

Pitt Rivers Museum label - N. AMERICA CANADA Plains Saddle Original Pitt Rivers Collection. [FB 08/04/2015]

Pre-PRM label / Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Padded saddle decorated with quill embroidery with elk tooth pendants. Fitted with crupper and with hide-covered wooden stirrups of a form derived from the Moors through the Spaniards. Fine example of a type of saddle now obsolete. Plains Indians of North America. PR Coll 15/ 10513

Pre-PRM label / Old Pitt Rivers Museum label [now in RDF] - NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN SADDLE. Ornamented with porcupines quills in the finest quality of embroidery now no longer employed. The form of stirrup has a long history. It was originally Arab having been derived from the east. It was untouched by the Moors into Spain and by the Spainards into America from there it was copied by the Indians of both North and South America. [FB 08/04/2015]

Display history: Displayed in South Kensington Museum (V&A). [AP Leverhulme project on founding collection 1995-1998]

Other information: Related Documents File - See RDF for old labels for some of the objects in this collection (1884.51). [E.S-R 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 21/12/2004]