A caparison is a covering, or cloth, laid over a horse or other animal, especially a pack animal, or horse of state. In modern times, it is used mainly for decoration in parades and for historical reenactments.
In the Middle Ages, caparisons were part of the horse armour known as barding, which was worn during war or tournament. They were adopted in the twelfth century in response to conditions of campaigning in the Crusades. An early depiction of a knight's horse wearing a caparison may be seen on the small Carlton-in-Lindrick knight figurine from the late 12th century. Modern re-enactment tests have shown that a loose caparison protects the horse reasonably well against arrows, especially if combined with a gambeson-like undercloth underneath.
Today, a caparison is used in bullfighting in the picador manner.
The word is of Spanish origin, being derived from an augmentative form of the Latin word caput, "head".
Domesticated and Temple Elephants of India
The elephants are beautifully decorated during the temple festivals in Indian state of Kerala.
A decorated Indian elephant during a fair in Jaipur, India
Nameboard in front of an elephant Caparison Manufacturing unit in, Tripunithura, Kerala, India
- Temple elephants of India
- A caparison made for the wedding-celebration of Gustaf II Adolf of Sweden and Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg, 1621