Stirrups at Sanchi (or Wikipedia strikes again)

John C. Huntington huntington.2 at OSU.EDU
Sun Jun 28 20:11:25 UTC 2009

Dear Alexandra and any other interested list members,

As a result of George Hart's note about the Wikipedia citation of  
stirrups at Sanchi I examined all of our recent (2007) high resolution  
digital images of the complete sculptural remains at Sanchi. In these  
images, we are able to examine every single figure in each of the  
reliefs at a nearly full-screen (2560 x1600 pixels) image. Horse  
riders are quite commonly depicted on both the earlier Sanchi Stupa 2  
vedika (ca. 120-100 BCE) and on the toranas of Stupa 1 (ca. 25 BCE).  
In no case could I identify a rider using stirrups.  However, in one  
or two images on the Stupa 2 vedika, the chinch strap that holds the  
saddle blanked in place could possibly be confused with a stirrup  
strap by some one ignorant of horse tack. However these are sculptural  
anomalies and, as once serious horseman, I can assure you that they  
are not supporting stirrups in any fashion.

Simply stated, after a detailed examination of the evidence there are  
no stirrups depicted at Sanchi.


John C. Huntington, Professor
(Buddhist Art and Methodologies)
Department of the History of Art
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH, U.S.A.

On Jun 28, 2009, at 11:04 AM, Alexandra van der Geer wrote:

> I could find no depiction of a stirrup in Sanchi stone sculptures,  
> nor in Gandharan ones. Has anybody a picture of or precise reference  
> to such evidence?
> Alexandra van der Geer
> Athens / Leiden

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