Comanche Wood Saddle, c. 1860s-70. Wood frame tied with sinew. Has some loss to the sinew on one side, ht. 10 1/2 in, lg. 20 in.
The horse was a key element in the emergence of a distinctive Comanche culture. It was of such strategic importance that some scholars suggested that the Comanche broke away from the Shoshone and moved southward to search for additional sources of horses among the settlers of New Spain to the south (rather than search for new herds of buffalo.) The Comanche have the longest documented existence as horse-mounted Plains peoples; they had horses when the Cheyennes still lived in earth lodges. The Comanche supplied horses and mules to all comers. As early as 1795, Comanches were selling horses to Anglo-American traders and by the mid-19th century, Comanche supplied horses were flowing into St. Louis via other Indian middlemen (Seminole, Osage, Shawnee).
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