da-our (Saddle Blanket)

About this object

History of use

Used as a protective and decorative covering for a horse, under the saddle. It is very decorative and was probably used at ceremonial occasions, but as the horse is such an important and revered property in the steppe cultures, it could also have been used for everyday activities. This type of object is also called a ‘saddle cover’ in the published literature.


Collected in Afghanistan, but could have been made and used elsewhere in the region. The blanket has probably been relined, and the tag was probably affixed to the object in order to conform to export/import regulations.

Iconographic meaning

Resembles embroidery embellishment on Uzbek pieces pictured in Afghan Embroidery.

Physical description

Lavishly embroidered, padded horse blanket, made of red wool textile and decorated with multi-coloured, curvilinear, naturalistic floral motifs worked in fine silk chain stitch. A rectangular space that would be located under the saddle when the blanket is in use is left plain. The horse blanket is rectangular in shape, with triangular extensions on either side of the back end. It is fully lined with multi-coloured striped cotton textile, with a layer of wool batting between the blanket and the lining. Partially edged with embroidered binding. Multi-coloured and blue fringe is applied to all edges except the front edge.