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Strap Ornaments - Outlander’s 18th-century setting was a time when one’s horse was like one’s car is today, and having a healthy, well-appointed horse was one way that people expressed their status and wealth. At the time, it was fashionable to decorate horse tack with metal ornaments, and brass ornaments for leather straps are found on most of Maryland’s colonial sites. Since most colonial saddles and bridles were imported from England, the evidence suggests that the horse tack arrived with popular decorative ornaments already on them, allowing colonists to ride in a style that reflected English trends. Image of a painting a man on a horse with a closeup detail of the horses bridle gear, caption read:Although this equestrian portrait of King Philip V of Spain is full of artist-added embellishments like a rainbow and angel, the ornaments on the bridle (detail) were probably based on real-life examples, since they are very similar to artifacts that have been found in Maryland.  Felipe V a caballo, ca. 1723, by Jean Ranc, Prado Museum, commons.wikimedia.org., Photo image of a leather horse tack fragment with ornament:Leather Horse Tack Fragment with Brass Ornaments, Date: ca. 1720-1750, Site Name: Oxon Hill Manor, Site Number:18PR175/2341 - The few strap ornaments in the MAC Lab’s collections that are still attached to leather come from the Oxon Hill Manor well, which was abandoned and filled with trash ca. 1720-1750. Stagnant water in the well created an anoxic environment that prevented bacteria from consuming organic materials such as leather. This example is so well preserved that stitch holes are evident around the edges, indicating that the piece had been attached to another layer of leather. Having the brass ornaments in context on a surviving leather fragment offers the best evidence for exactly how these metal artifacts were used.; Two photo images of brass strap ornaments:Brass Strap Ornament, Date: ca. 1689-1711, Site Name: King’s Reach, Site Number:18CV83/666; Brass Strap Ornament, Date: ca. 1670-1770, Site Name: Horne Point , Site Number:18DO58/86 - These strap ornaments, also known as bosses, mounts, or studs, are in a shape that was common on horse tack decoration in the 17th and 18th centuries. A similar domed ornament with a raised center nipple can be seen on the headstall just below the ear in the ca. 1723 equestrian portrait of King Philip V of Spain (sidebar), which also illustrates a matching boss on the cheek piece of the horse’s curb bit. This style of boss has been found on at least a dozen colonial sites in Maryland so far, suggesting that the decorations on King Philip V’s horse might not be as different from what one could have seen in the English colonies as one might expect.; Photo image of a brass strap ornament:Brass Strap Ornament, Date: ca. 1690-1711, Site Name: Addison Plantation, Site Number:18PR175/6107 - Large strap ornaments such as this example, which is a little over 2.5” long, are not as common as smaller ones on Maryland’s colonial sites, but they do show up frequently enough to suggest that were not rare. Instead, it is likely that they were used in some kind of central prominent location on horse tack, such as the center of the forehead, or the center front of the breast collar as shown in the equestrian portrait of Frederick the Great (right).,  portrait image of a man on a horse with large ornaments on the horses straps and saddle:This equestrian portrait of Frederick the Great of Prussia, ca. 1740-1786, shows a horse with large metal ornaments on the forehead, nose, and breast collar. ©Trustees of the British Museum.
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