The stirrups included "two Moorish stirrups of gilded tin, for a woman's use";1 "some large Moorish stirrups, gilt, with two silver plates upon their faces, enamelled gold, green, and blue, and eight nails on either face"; "some other Moorish stirrups, wrought inside with ataujia-work in gold, and outside with plates of copper enamelled in green, blue, and white; the handles gilt, with coverings of red leather"; and "some silver stirrups with three bars upon the floor thereof, round-shaped in the manner of an urinal, with open sides consisting of two bars, a flower within a small shield on top, and, over this, the small face of a man."
1 The women of mediaeval Spain had few amusements besides riding. Another - though owing to the temperate climate it must have been on few occasions - was skating, since this inventory mentions "two pairs of skates, for a man, for travelling over ice. Two pairs of skates, for the same purpose, for a woman." This entry almost matches in its quaintness with the "irons for mustaches," or the "triggers for extracting teeth," set forth in Spanish documents such as the Tassa General of 1627.
The many sets of reins included several of Granada make, coloured in white, red, and bay; while one of the most elaborate of the poitrals was of "red leather, embroidered with gold thread, with fringes of rose-coloured silk, buckles, ends, and rounded knobs; the whole of copper enamelled green, and blue, and white."
Small but attractive accessories to these handsome sets of mediaeval Spanish harness were the decorative medals (Plate lx.) hung from the horse's breast in tourneying or in war. In France these medals were known as annelets volunts, branlants, or pendants; although in Spain, where it is probable that they were used more widely than in other countries, they have no definite name. The term jaeces is sometimes applied to them; but jaez properly means the entire harness for a horse, and the word is thus employed by classic Spanish authors, such as Tirso de Molina. A recent term, invented by a living writer, is jaeccs colgantes, or "hanging jaeces."
These ornaments, which had their origin among the Romans and Byzantines, are figured in certain of the older Spanish codices such as the Cantigas de Santa Maria. In Christian Spain, however, their vogue was greatest in the thirteenth and the fourteenth centuries. They disappeared altogether in the sixteenth century; and among the Spanish Moors their use, though not unknown, was always quite exceptional.
The mottoes and devices on these little plates are very varied. Sometimes the motto has an amorous, sometimes a religious import. Sometimes the vehicle of the motto is Latin, sometimes Spanish, sometimes French. Sometimes the device contains, or is composed of, a blazon, and commonly there is floral or other ornament. A collection of nearly three hundred of these medals belonged to the late Count of Valencia de Don Juan, all of which were probably made in Spain. The material as a rule is copper, adorned with champleve enamelling, and the colours often used to decorate and relieve the interspaces of the gilded metal are red, blue, black, white, and green.
Travelling Litter (Attributed to Charles the Fifth. Royal Armoury, Madrid)
According to Florencio Janer, coaches were not known in Spain until the middle of the sixteenth century. Before that time the usual conveyance was the litter. The Madrid Armoury contains an object which is thought to have been the campaigning-litter of Charles the Fifth (Plate lxi.). The Count of Valencia de Don Juan also inclined to this belief from the circumstance that an engraving exists in the British Museum which represents a German litter of the sixteenth century, identical in all respects with this one. Probably, however, these litters were the same all over Europe. The inventory of the Dukes of Alburquerque includes, in 1560, a "cowhide litter, black, lined with black serge; also poles stained black, and harness for mules." This, together with other travelling gear, belonged to "my lady the duchess"; and it is worth noting that the litter attributed to Charles, though cased with a protective covering of whitish canvas, is also of black leather and lined with black serge, besides being evidently built for carriage by two mules. The interior contains a small armchair rising some inches only from the floor, and which, requiring him to keep his legs continually outstretched, could hardly fail to prove excruciatingly uncomfortable to the traveller.
Mendez Silva says that the precise date of the introduction of coaches into Spain was 1546, and other writers do not greatly differ from him. The Alburquerque inventory includes "two four-wheeled coaches," as well as "a triumphal car with four wheels, its body painted with red and gold stripes." Vanderhamen, who says that the first coach ever seen in Spain was brought here by a servant of Charles the Fifth in 1554, adds that within a little time their use became "a hellish vice that wrought incalculable havoc to Castile." Certainly this vehicle for many years was far from popular among the Spaniards, and was assailed with special vehemence by all who lacked the income to support one. The Duke of Berganza is said to have remarked that "God had fashioned horses for the use of men, and men had fashioned coaches for the use of women"; while a priest, Tomas Ramon, declared that it was "a vast disgrace to see bearded men, with rapiers at their side, promenading in a coach." Even the governing powers thought fit to interfere. In 1550, 1563, and 1573 the Cortes demanded the total prohibition of these modish yet detested vehicles, while the Cortes of 1578 decreed four horses as the statutory and invariable number for a private carriage. A further law enacted in 1611 that coaches must be strictly private property, and not, on pain of rigorous chastisement, be lent or hired by their owner;1 while the owner, to own or use a coach at all, required a special licence from the Crown.