This rare silver-gilt saddle is a testament to 17th century life in the Russian court, which understood the visual power of horse barding for official processions. Many were decorated with precious stones and enamel, emerging as works of art. As part of the Kremlin’s ‘order of the stable’ dating to the 15th century, this particular ‘Boyarskiy’ type of saddle became a symbol of delicate Russian craftsmanship and was popularized across Europe and parts of Asia.
Highly esteemed Russian noblemen of the time, such as Boris Godunov and Dmitry Pozharskiy had Boyarskiy saddles commissioned. Godunov, the ruler of Russia between 1585-1598, commissioned a silver saddle which is stylistically very similar to the present lot. Likewise, Pozharsky, known as the ‘saviour of the motherland’ after leading Russian soldiers against the Polish-Lithuanian invaders in 1611, had a silver saddle made. Both of these saddles are now on display in the Kremlin’s Armoury museum display, in Moscow, underscoring their cultural and historical importance.
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