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Saddle (selle); so-called 'Tratzberg Saddle' (Top)

Saddle (selle); so-called 'Tratzberg Saddle' (Top)
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Right side

Left side

Left side



Right side

Left side

Secular. Courtly love.

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New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art


Staghorn;wood;birch bark;leather

Height: 444mm
Width: 476mm
Depth: 457mm

Left side
Youth holding a scroll; lady with a hawk on her wrist; foliated decoration; scrolls.
Right side
Standing lady holding a scroll; standing youth; bearded face; foliated decoration; scrolls.
Engraved German inscription in Gothic script: 'wol mich nu wart/in dem ars is vinster/frei dich mit gantzem willen' (right side); 'wol mich wart/ich hof der liben somerzeit/lach lib lach' (left side). Translation: 'I hope for dear summertime; wait- be willing [in favor of] me; smile, love, smile.'

Grancsay 1937: German, c. 1400.
New York 1975: Southern Germany or Austria (Tirol), c. 1400.
Museum's opinion 2012: Germany or Tirol, c. 1400- 1450.


Polychromy - Gilding
Traces of polychromy: green (foliage), black (inscriptions), red, blue (bearded face; foliage).

Engraved on all sides.

Collection of Count Frank III Enzenberg (b. 1802, d. 1879), Tratzberg castle (Tirol)(acquired c. 1852); Egger, art dealer, Vienna. Acquired in 1904 by the Museum thanks to the Rogers Fund.

J. von Schlosser, 'Elfenbeinsättel des ausgehenden Mittelalters', in Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses, 15 (1894), pp. 260-294, no. 11. Fully accessible online as part of the Heidelberger historische Bestände: http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/jbksak1894/0318 [accessed 24/07/2013].
S. Grancsay, 'An Early Sculptured Saddle', in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 32, no. 4 (1937), pp. 92-94 (p. 93, n. 5). Accessible online on The Metropolitan Museum of Art website in collaboration with JSTOR.
The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages, exhibition catalogue, New York, The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975, no. 276, pl. 14.
K. Watts, 'Une selle médiévale d'Europe Centrale au Royal Armouries', in Armes et cultures de guerre en Europe centrale (XVe siècle - XIXe siècle), Les Cahiers d'études et de recherches du musée de l'Armée 6 (2005-2006), pp. 49-66 (p. 63 n. 14).
R. D. Radway, 'In the Name of St. George: Fifteenth-Century Bone Saddles', post dated 29 March 2012 on 'On the Art of Renaissance and Ottoman Hungary...' blog: http://ottomanhungary.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/help-o-lord-may-god-help-in-name-of-st.html [accessed 24/07/2013].


Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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