Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Prick Spur

11th century
French or German
Iron alloy, copper alloy
L. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); W. 4 in. (10.2 cm); Wt. 2.9 oz. (82.2 g)
Equestrian Equipment-Spurs
Credit Line:
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1929
Accession Number:
Not on view
The prick spur was the first type of spur to be invented, and it consists of a goad or prick, more or less pointed, connected to side arms or a heel plate. The earliest spurs were probably simple thorns attached at the back of the heel, before they started to be made out of metal in antiquity.

Prick spurs were the main type of spurs used in the Middle Ages until the mid-14th century, when they were supplanted by rowel spurs, which appeared in Europe a century before and with which they had cohabitated for a time. As a knight’s status was closely related to his horse, spurs became one of the symbols of chivalry, and one of the tokens given to him during his knighting.
Richard Zschille, Grossenhain, Saxony; Bashford Dean
Louisville, Ky. J. B. Speed Art Museum. "A Loan Exhibition of Equestrian Equipment from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 4–July 3, 1955, no. 69.

Grancsay, Stephen V. A Loan Exhibition of Equestrian Equipment from the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue. Louisville, Ky.: Speed Art Museum, 1955. no. 69, ill.

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