Thursday, June 16, 2011
Image of a saddled horse - Greater Iran - early Islamic period
in the spirit of post-Islamic period, perhaps late VII century or even as late as early X century AD, I am showing here a fragment of a dish showing a horse, saddled and bridled.
Horse has all the typical Iranian/Persian tail and mane treatment shown in the earlier Sassanid metal plates eg - http://dariocaballeros.blogspot.com/2009/04/polo.html - its the tail is braided, with a ribbon, and its mane is fashioned in the ancient style, however its forelock is not tied nor wrapped like in the Parthian or Sassanian images, perhaps the very sign of new times in the Greater Iran. Yet the big 'phalerae' on is shoulders and hindquarters go back to the Sarmatian horse tack.
The saddle is similar to an image shown in the relief work (lintel) in the early Christian and Armenian ''Mren Cathedral'' (presently Turkey) http://www.virtualani.org/mren/index.htm (we shall revisit this Armenian site and the Georgia's Mtzketa Chruch of Holly Cross Jvari monastery ) . Dr Nicolle, in his book on the Sassanian Armies (Montvert,1996), on page 57 talks about Mren's Armenian saddled horse, pointing that the saddle lacks 'any raised cantle' and 'has no stirrups ' - dating the image to 640 AD. Then perhaps this very image here is also dated to VII cenury rather than VIII or X AD.