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PRIMITIVE PACK SADDLES – RECENTLY FOUND IN MEXICO – GREAT DISPLAY PIECES:  Years ago great finds like these pack saddles used to be regularly brought up from the small towns and villages down in Old Mexico and the collector shows in South Texas were always a good place to find them offered for sale.  Those halcyon days have long passed, but on occasion some of these treasures find their way north.   

Once common across South Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, these saddles were made for use on the diminutive burros that have borne the weight of travelers, trade and agriculture for centuries, and they are remarkably smaller than those fashioned for mules and horses.  While following a basic pattern, each saddle is a unique product of the skill and imagination of the man who built it.     

Pieces of primitive art in their own right, these saddles display very well as is, however I find that they really stand out when repurposed as stands to display a frontier rifle as shown in the photographs below.  

Each of the saddles is described below with accompanying photographs.

 

PACK SADDLE #1:  Measuring 12” long, 15” wide and 9 ½” high, this saddle is an unusual pattern, intended to concentrate the load across the burro’s shoulders rather than balanced along the spine as on the more common saddles.  The wear to the upper cross pieces show where the loads were attached or hung (see photo below with blue arrow).  Assembled entirely without any metal fittings, each piece is joined to the others with hand cut tenons and mortises.  The joints have shrunk with the passage of time and there is some looseness, but the joints are not separating nor will they come apart.  If you wish, you can tighten the joints by soaking the wood in water.  Even as it is with a minimal play in the joints, the saddle is very stable and it displays quite nicely.  The wood is heavily weathered, but solid through out with no rot or weak points.   (0316)  $175  

 

PACK SADDLE #1:  Measuring 16” long, 12” wide and 9 ½” high, this saddle shows use and wear, but is solid.  The dark wood, perhaps ebony which is native to the border region and down into northern Mexico, is hand shaped and is assembled with a variety of iron fittings.  The saddle has an old coat of varnish, probably to protect it from the elements.  SOLD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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