Tradescant Collection

 

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  The Catalogue: Barbary Spurs  
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About this Resource
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DIMENSIONS:
Length (overall) 282 mm, (neck and goad) 146 mm; Span (distorted) 107mm
DESCRIPTION:
Pair of iron prick spurs with straight, round-section sides flattening a little near the slender rectangular terminals, each of which has two horizontal slots. One spur has a side broken, leaving a small stump. Although it would still fit closely around the back of a wearer's heel, the sides of the complete spur have been opened beyond their original span. The incomplete spur shows signs of having had quite a narrow span. Rectangular vertical loop above the junction of neck and sides, decorated with a simple incised line pattern, as is the flat triangular surface beneath it. The loop has a key-hole shaped perforation through front and back. The short, rounded quadrangular neck expands towards the flat circular neck-plate, behind which the long goad swells very slightly before tapering to a point. The rear surface of the neck-plate is decorated with a pattern of two interlaced double-line squares forming an eight-pointed star, in and around which is a scrolled line pattern, inlaid in silver. The goad has similar scroll decoration between double lines.
COMMENTARY:
The style represented by this pair of spurs continued to be worn almost unchanged until modern times in North Africa, making it impossible typologically to date it closely. The 1656 catalogue included references to "Barbary Spurres" and "Spurres from Turkey", without stating how many in either case, while in 1685, only two pairs of Barbary spurs were recorded. The pair described here is typical of that region of North Africa formerly known as Barbary. The Islamic riders of Turkey also wore prick spurs, but there appears to be no evidence for the use of the specific Barbary style in that country.
Museum Id. No:
1656 p. 48: Barbary Spurres pointed Sharp like a Bodkin or Spurres from Turkey
1685 B no. 754: Duo calcaria Barbarica ferrea
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