A strong large-ish saddle. In the Qing dynasty, the Manchus ruled China. They did not allow Han Chinese to be in the military. When a Han Chinese retired, he sometimes was gifted with a wooden saddle by the emperor as a sign of respect, he could not use it because he was not in the military but he could show it off. (Chinese could not serve in the Manchu Military; they could not get into the officers’ quarters, there was a sign posted outside) I believe I learned that in my student days and/or in the markets of Beijing and/or a book by a famous Chinese furniture collector. See the Christie’s auction book of 2002 of the SY Yip Collection at p. 74; They cite references to such a saddle in a book by Wang Shixiang and some guilou. One friend wrote "Sorry but this is a pack saddle....used for horse carrying various bundles and items tied to the saddle...,.nothing to do with scholars " WRONG However, that retired official could have plunked it on some nag. Indeed, if someone buys it, you can do that as well. You can even chop it up nd make fire word from it. If you want to purchase just let me know. It is rarin’ to go. And in very good condition.