Pair of stirrups
Place of Origin: Tibet
Date: 18th–19th century
Overall height: 165mm (6.5 inches)
This pair of iron stirrups conforms to the well-known style used by the Mongolians, Chinese and Tibetans.
Two ferocious dragons flank a central slot which would have held the stirrup leather. The dragons, chiselled in high relief, are thoughtfully decorated in silver and gold, with the latter being reserved for the horns and the cheeks. The arms are decorated on the outer surface with an interlocking swastika pattern rendered in silver, while in gold there are the Buddhist symbols of a fish, a wheel and a conch. The oval foot-plate is recessed, the edge also decorated with the same interlocking patterns as the arms above. On close inspection, the cross-hatched method of silver and gold application on the dragons and side bars can be seen, giving an insight into the painstaking work finishing these sculptural objects must have required.