Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums
About hegira 6th century / AD 12th century
Length 15.2 cm, width 8 cm
Northern Europe (Germany or Austria).
Originally one of a pair of prick spurs, this spur would have been fixed to footwear, to the sides of the ankle, with the prick pointing out at the back of the heel. A horse-rider (cavalryman, horse-archer, or knight) would use it to prick his horse when commanding it to move or run. The spur has straight sides with two holes at the end of each for the straps that tie around the ankles. These two straight sides meet in the middle to form an elliptical arch. Attached to the point where the two sides meet is a section that has a conical shaped tip (the prick). The spur's straight sides indicate that it could not have been made after the AH 6th century / AD 12th century, while the two strap-holes on the end of the sides of the spur show that this item was not likely to have been made before 1100.View Short Description
Every Crusader knight, cavalryman and horse-archer would have had a pair of prick spurs like these fixed onto the heel of their footwear. The European Crusader would use the prick to coax his horse into moving or picking up speed.
Artistic analysis, and from extensive research carried out into the manufacture of European arms and armour. The spur's straight sides indicate that it could not have been made after the 12th century, while the strap-holes on the end of the sides of the spur show that this item was not likely to have been made before 1100 AD.
Part of the collection given to the City of Glasgow by Sir William and Lady Burrell in 1944.
Nicolle, D., The Crusades, Oxford, 1988.
Noorah Al-Gailani "Prick spur" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;uk;Mus04;7;en
Prepared by: Noorah Al-GailaniNoorah Al-Gailani
Noorah Al-Gailani is Curator for Islamic Civilisations at Glasgow Museums, Scotland. With a BA in Interior Design from the College of Fine Arts, Baghdad University and three years' experience in design and folk art preservation, she moved to the UK in 1992. On completing her MA in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London in 1994, she worked as Project Officer at the Grange Museum of Community History documenting the presence of Muslim communities in the London Borough of Brent. In 1995 she was Assistant Curator, Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, and in 1996 became Curator for John Wesley's House and the Museum of Methodism in London. She co-authored The Islamic Year: Surahs, Stories and Celebrations (Stroud: Hawthorn Press, 2002) for non-Muslim children. Since 2003 she has been based at The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, working across the city's museums to interpret Islamic art and culture, ancient and modern, through research, exhibitions and educational activities.
Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: UK4 13
Islamic Dynasties / Period
On display in
Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)Al-Franj: the Crusaders in the Levant | Culture in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem
Virtual Visit Exhibition Trail
DownloadAs PDF (including images) As Word (text only)