Saddle Blanket

About this object

History of use

Used as a protective and decorative covering for a horse, under a saddle. Because it is so decorative, it may have been used at ceremonial occasions, but as the horse is such important and revered property in a nomadic culture, it is also just as likely to have been used for more practical, everyday purposes. The blanket is shaped to be positioned on the horse’s back, with provision for accommodating the neck. The cords that are attached to the forward end of the blanket were probably used to hold it close to the body of the horse. The wear pattern on the fringe on each side edge would have been caused by the saddle girth.

Physical description

Large, multi-coloured, decorative saddle blanket made from rough wool warp-faced textile and backed with a thick layer of felted wool fleece. It is rectangular in shape, with a deep squared-off indentation (37 cm x 53 cm) at the forward end of the blanket. Cords made of braided wool fibre (72 cm long) are attached at the inside top corners of the indentation. Loops made of brown braided wool fibre are sewn near the bottom inside corners of the indentation. Two long, narrow triangular pieces are sewn at the outside edge of the back end of the blanket, making the back end of the blanket wider than the front end. The predominant colours are dark red and black, and the textile is woven in stripes that run lengthwise to the body of the horse; solid coloured stripes alternate with patterned stripes that are embellished with geometric forms. All outside edges are finished with patterned braid and long (16 cm) multi-coloured twisted fibre fringe. The heavy layer of brown felted fleece that is used as a backing over the entire underside of the blanket is quilted to the top layer with running stitches.