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How the horse was decorated in the East
In the ancient times the horse was a man’s pride. It was treasured and decorated with love. In the Epic of Koroghlu there are several scenes describing the ornaments of a horse.
At the time of the Tang dynasty the horses that were trained to dance were dressed in gold-embroidered fabrics and silver jewelry, and their manes were decorated with jewels.
Just like the horse statuette of the Tang dynasty that was found in the city of Luoyang, an ancient capital of China.
The horse in the Panjakent paintings is as ornate as the Chinese horse. In its gold and silver jewelry, each one is beautiful and graceful.
The horse’s ornaments also served as amulets that protected it from the evil.
Decorating the bridle served not only to protect the horse’s head, but also as ornaments.
People decorated their horses according to their budget, ordering ornaments made of gold, silver, copper, or iron. The ancient jewelers used a variety of techniques, including casting, forging, hammering, granulation, or inlay.
A man’s life was closely connected to horses, and his love for the horse was expressed in decorating it and depicting it in works of art. The famous ceramic horse of Karatepe dates back to 4,000 B.C.
Horses are 60 million years old. Archaeologists found that the horse was tamed and given a special place among domestic animals.
Humans started riding horses around 3,000 B.C. The Oriental peoples were familiar with horses since ancient times, and that can be seen in their works of ceramic, wood carving, jewelry making and wall painting.
Our ancestors admired the horse not only for its strength, but also for its beauty, and considered the horse a symbol of friendship, love, and loyalty.
A Pamir legend says that the prophet’s son Ali mourned the death of his horse and to preserve her memory made a string for his rubab (a type of lute) with one of her hairs. Maybe that is why a lot of string instruments have horse bows.
Sometimes at celebrations the maskharaboz (clowns and acrobats) ride horses. A horse-driven chariot is a popular Indo-European symbol of the sun. In Turkey a picture of a horse with a circle over its head means happiness. Not surprising that most eastern and oriental peoples bring a bride to her groom on a horse. In the old times people believed that the horse got its speed from a daeva and it flies as if it has wings.
The ancient people could not explain the amazing strength and other qualities of the horse, like they had no explanation for many natural phenomena.
Many horse ornaments now exist only in name, many names are lost. The animal has been replaced by machine, but we still admire the horse’s beauty and grace.