A reader sent me some pictures of a saddle blanket she has (see end of post for photos), and wondered if I could help her figure out where it is from. I asked a couple friends who know a bit about saddle blankets, and we hazarded a few guesses (below) but we didn't know for sure. Do you know?
It's definitely not Native American, and it doesn't resemble any we've seen from Africa (such as Ethiopian or Morroccan).
The shape, with the pointed ends, is similar to some English cavalry saddle pads, and this might suggest it was made in an area where English influence was felt, such as India.
However, it also looks like the black outer area and zig-zag border are a newer and different material than the central portion, which appears to be old woven wool.
It has a slot which is typical of saddle blankets that are laid over the top of a high-pommeled or high-cantled wooden saddle frame, which is common in many regions of the world.
The geometric designs and floral motif are similar to some found in Central Asia, such as Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan, but again the shape is unusual for those regions and I have not seen any very similar.
Do any readers have ideas? If you have seen something similar please let us know! If possible include a link to an online image or webpage in your comment so we can take a look and compare.
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Thanks for your help!