Place of Origin: Tbilisi, Georgia
Date: First half of the 19th Century
Overall Height: 135mm (5 1/3 inches)
Overall Width: 123mm (4 7/8 inches)
These refined stirrups originate from the city of Tiflis (or Tbilisi, the modern capital of Georgia). Miniature birds in gold – their striking features and plumage picked out in close detail – sit at either side of the sloping apertures through which the original stirrup leathers would have been placed. Further damascene-work appears over the arms, conveying a lush menagerie of gold flowerheads and curving vines. As the arms widen, these flowerheads grow, before at the base one bird defeats another within an ogee-arched panel.
The stirrups’ treads are hollow but formed with ridged upper edges so as to provide a firmer grip against the rider’s footwear. The decorative band of stylised flowerheads and vines over the exterior face, and a plain band of gold at the interior, reveal most clearly the cross-hatching used to hold the gold inlay. An inscription at the underside of the treads gives the maker’s name: “Khachatur (/Hatjatur) of Tbilisi”.
This name likely refers to Khechatur Beburov, a weaponsmith born in 1766 who worked in the city of Tbilisi, Georgia. He produced arms and armour for Russian royalty, and was held in sufficiently high esteem that on the 2nd August, 1792, he was given the status of a noble by the Georgian Tsar Heraclius II. Though the year of his death remains uncertain, we know that Khechatur was still alive and working in 1827, since this is the year in which he produced and presented a fine sword to Russian emperor Nicholas I (r.1825-1855), which is now preserved in the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg (Inventory Number B.O.-38).
We thank Gotscha Lagidse for his assistance in identifying the maker of these stirrups.
 ibid, see Fig./Doc. 7 taken from the Central Historical Archives of Georgia.