National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Saddle Saddle
Rendered by Rose Campbell-Gerke (artist), 1935/1942
watercolor and graphite on paperboard
overall: 50.8 x 35.7 cm (20 x 14 1/16 in.)
Index of American Design
1943.8.14224
Not on View
From the Tour: Folk Arts of the Spanish Southwest from the Index of American Design
Object 24 of 25

A love of embellishment is apparent in the riding gear of the old southwest, including everything from saddles and stirrups to bridles, bits, and spurs. The materials were iron, silver, leather, or even — as in this child's sidesaddle — velvet and silk. Like many other traditions of the American southwest, this craft developed from Mexican practices that in turn had their origins in medieval and Renaissance Spain. This saddle is a particularly handsome piece. It was made about 1820 by an unknown craftsman in Monterey, California. The designs are embroidered in silk and show Diana, protectress of maidens, in a chariot drawn by two goats, and cornucopias — attributes identifying the goddess with fertility rites and the harvest. The seat is upholstered in padded green velvet.

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