Name of Object:

Horse tack


Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Museum of the Udayas

Date of Object:

Late Hegira 13th / AD 19th century

Museum Inventory Number:

D 4347

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wood, leather, serge and felt, gold embroidery, trim, damascened iron.


Height 89 cm, length 100 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Fez, Morocco.


This full set of horse tack includes a saddle, cloth, bridle, collar, stirrups, saddlebags and girths. These elements, which used numerous different materials and trades in their manufacture, were the work of many craftsmen and women employed by the master saddler.
The wooden tree (the frame of the saddle) is covered with a camel-skin shabraque (saddle-cloth). It differs from European saddles with its two very high arches. The saddle cloth, which was placed on top of the shabraque, brow band, visor, collar, girth and breast strap that kept the saddle on the horse's back, as well as the two saddlebags attached with a strap, were made of leather and black serge embroidered with gold thread. These items were further embellished with trim, thick braids and fringes in black and yellow silk. The breast strap is embellished with two large oval leather studs decorated with floral motifs in champlevé enamel. The iron stirrups are damascened in gold.
The decoration on the saddle uses vegetal and plant motifs, foliage, palms and fleurons arranged within compartments framed by the foliage. Intertwined plant designs are used on the backs of the high arches of the saddle, as is the five-pointed star, which is stamped on the front of the saddlebags. The gold-thread decoration on the harness would have been designed by the saddlers and embroidered by women, who would also have woven the silk cords and braids at home.
This type of sumptuous saddle would have adorned horses in the town and in the country during festival days and parades, in particular for the fantasias that took place on certain important religious or national occasions.

View Short Description

This type of luxury harness and saddle was worn by horses on feast days and parades, in particular the fantasia tournaments that were held on certain important religious or national events. The saddle is different from European saddles as it has a tree with two high arches.

How date and origin were established:

By the type of embroidery used.

How Object was obtained:


How provenance was established:

The town of Fez was reputed for its saddlery.

Selected bibliography:

Sefriou, A., "Les métiers traditionnels", La grande encyclopédie du Maroc, Vol. 6, Rabat, 1987, pp.125–6.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Horse tack" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;ma;Mus01_B;49;en

Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-BoujibarNaima El Khatib-Boujibar

Archéologue et historienne de l'art, titulaire d'une licence en lettres (française), N. Elkhatib-Boujibar a également étudié l'archéologie et l'histoire de l'art à l'Institut d'art et d'archéologie de Paris, l'art islamique et la muséologie à l'École du Louvre (Paris), et suivi des cours à l'Institut d'ethnographie de l'Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse). Elle a occupé plusieurs postes de responsabilité, parmi lesquels directrice des Musées et de l'Archéologie, inspectrice générale des Musées et de l'Archéologie, déléguée régionale du ministère de la Culture.
Elle a dirigé un chantier de fouille durant 20 ans et enseigné à l'Institut national marocain des sciences de l'archéologie et du patrimoine (INSAP). Elle a organisé différentes expositions sur le patrimoine marocain, au Maroc comme à l'étranger, et animé des cycles de conférence, dont celui sur l'art islamique à la “Villa des Arts” à Casablanca.
N. El Khatib-Boujibar a publié différents articles sur le patrimoine archéologique, artistique et architectural marocain, mais aussi sur d'autres sites islamiques et sur les arts mobiliers. Elle a également participé à la rédaction du catalogue Musée Sans Frontières Le Maroc andalou, à la rencontre d'un art de vivre.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: MO 74


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Muslim West | Court Life

MWNF Galleries

Arms and Armoury Leatherwork


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