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  I want to create here a source of knowledge for people who are interested in the technical details of classical equestrian maneuvers from the Renaissance period. I address this blog mainly to riders aspiring to ride in the style of that historical period.

SADDLE FROM WIELUŃ CIRCA 1400

  

Marcin Ruda

SADDLE FROM WIELUŃ - 14th-15th CENTURY


The collection of the Wieluń Land Museum includes the remains of a medieval saddle. On a global scale, it is a unique artifact, because there are very few preserved saddles from the turn of the 14th and 15th century. Furthermore not a single copy of this type of saddle has survived. Although it is incomplete, it is an excellent case of past craft techniques and developed solutions in the field of equestrianism.

PLACE OF DISCOVER

During the archaeological research in the 2010/2011 conducted under the supervision of the archaeologist Bogusław Abramek with the support of Waldemar Golec, the head of the museum's archaeological department, the remains of a saddle were found in the collapsed basement. The research was carried out within Królewska - Barycz streets in the city of Wieluń.

The place of finding on a map from the 16th century is marked below:

Archaeologists described this place as a former basement, i.e. a place located below the ground floor, partially located below the ground level.

The room was most likely used as a repair shop / repository for used everyday items.

The basement collapsed and buried in the second half of the 15th century. This resulted in cut off and insulation of the layer. Archaeologists date the contents of the basement at 1370-1450.

And such dating is adopted for the found saddle.

 

ARTIFACT QUALITY

Under one of the collapsed beams, the remains of a saddle were found in good condition. The artifact was already damaged, i.e. a tree was broken in several places and there was no right bar, no rear pommel fitting, no stirrup leathers and stirrups, no girth, no pillows.

Wooden structure, has been preserved in an almost perfect condition, retaining its profiles, dowels, traces of processing, brad spots, birch bark coating, holes and others. The leather cover is also in very good condition. The leather is still strong and flexible with visible sewing holes, brad spots, traces from production and a lot of exploitation marks.

The saddle during cleaning process. Photo Waldemar Golec.

Discovered wooden, leather and metal components of a saddle. Drawing by Marcin Ruda


SADDLE TREE

As mentioned above, the construction of this saddle is unique among the examples that have survived to date.

The wooden structure is made of an unidentified type of wood with distinct straight grains.

The structure consisted of 5 wood large elements, 6 dowels with a diameter of about 12 mm and a birch bark.

A – front pommel, B- left bar, C- cantle, D- seat connecting element. Photo Waldemar Golec

It is clear that the construction of the tree was well thought out. It is complicated in its form, because the lack of precision in one element affects at least three elements at the same time, which makes it difficult to match them together.

There is also a clear picture of the deliberate arrangement of the wood grains in the elements, which again indicates experience in technology.