Etruscan or Villanovan bronze horse bit




A bronze horse snaffle bit consisting of two sections with a large ring at either end, and two double-eyelet sections which would have attached to the bridle.

Horses held great value among the Villanovans and Etruscans. They were used for military as well as leisure purposes and possessing them was an indicator of high social status. Equestrian objects, like bridles or even chariots, were often deposited in the tombs of the wealthy individuals, the deceased hoping to equip their steeds in the afterlife.

Italy, Villanovan or Etruscan, 8th – 7th Century BC

24 x 7.5 cms

Intact as shown

Ex. deceased estate, Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK; acquired c. 1900-1950. The items in this collection were inspected by the Department of Antiquities in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford during the 1960’s. A photocopy of a letter from The Ashmolean recommending some conservation procedures for the collection accompanies this lot.

For comparable examples of this type of horse bit, now in the Metropolitan Museum, please see: