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 When Collected: ?Prior to 1880 Acquired: Donated 1884 PR No.: 15/ 10513

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]