In medieval England, decorative horse brasses were in use before the 12th century, serving as talismans and status symbols, and by the mid-19th century, they had found their way onto working-class harnesses, a practice which developed as part of a general flowering of the decorative arts during the time. The most popular size is 3 × 3½ inches of flat brass with a hanger by which the brass is threaded onto a horse harness strap. By the late 19th century heavy horses were decorated with brasses of all kinds and sizes. During this era working horse parades were popular throughout the British Isles and prize or merit awards were given. In England many of these items of harness wound up in country public houses as the era of the heavy horse declined, and are still associated today as a pub decoration. Other horse brass subjects include advertising, royalty commemoration, and in later years, souvenir brasses for places and events, many of which are still being made and used today.
Kudzu’s collection of horse brass was imported from England and varies in symbology from piece to piece. As described, they measure approximately 3 inches by 3 1/2 inches.