Weapons - Saddle and riding gear of Khan

Murat Ghirai (Khan from 1678 to 1683)
Size: H 85 cm
Silver, brass, gild, red velvet, leather 
Origin and time: Turkey around 1680
KHM (Museum of Fine Arts), Vienna
Inv. No. C 153

Among the Turkish booty seized in 1683 after the siege and relief of Vienna was a saddle ascribed to Kara Mustafa, the Turkish grand vizier, because of its luxuriant equipment. Whether it really belonged to the Turkish commander of the siege of Vienna remains doubtful, especially considering the fact that the tughra stamped on the saddle carries the name of Ghirai Khan. The saddle was made at the royal court workshop of Sultan Mehmed IV. The saddle seat and the saddle blanket are underlaid with cerise velvet and decorated with a gold-embroidered, appliqué flower decoration. The saddle comes with a pair of stirrups made of gild brass. Murat Ghirai, the Khan of the Crimean Tatars, was a descendant of Genghis Khan. In 1466, the Crimean Tatars separated from the Golden Horde, at that time ruling the south of Russia. In 1478, the Khans of the Crimean Tatars became vassals of the Ottoman sultan under Sultan Mehmed II’s reign. Since then, several members of the Ghirai family were customarily held hostages in Constantinople to make sure the Khan was being loyal. Most members of the Ghirai family were therefore living in Istanbul for a certain time, and their culture and preferences were strongly influenced by the Turkish royal court. Nor is it surprising that the Khan of the Tatars used a saddle fabricated in a royal court workshop in Istanbul. The Ottomans used the Tatars as auxiliaries in battles against the Polish, the Transylvanians or the Habsburgs. On September 9, 1683, Murat Ghirai arrived to join Kara Mustafa’s army with a battalion of Tatars. Murat Ghirai was in conflict with the grand vizier Kara Mustafa and tried to hinder the Turkish lead wherever possible. After the defeat at Gran, the Khan deposed the Tatar and replaced him by another member of the Ghirai family.