In England and other countries, many shire, cart and parade horses carry brasses, which often depict the sun, the crescent moon, a star, or a wheel. When did these designs first appear on horse brasses, and what were their lines of transmission to the present day?
Thomas Hennell lists two possible origins:
Judges 8:21 & 8:26 (refers to camel ornaments)
or as protection against the evil eye.
FOR THOUSANDS OF years the horse was the key to human mobility, and this made it a precious possession that ... The images used included suns, crescent moons, hearts and lotus-flowers, evoking the sun-god, the moon- goddess and the gods of ancient Egypt. ... in its role representing the sun moving through the heavens, sacred hands, stars, wheels and horns. ... The simple idea was that, if the Evil One looked up at the The sun-flash horse-brass that swings back and forth.
the following, therefore, some of the most common designs found in horse brasses are accounted for. The belief in ... Thus for centuries these charms and amulets were used in all countries, and took the form of the moon or crescent, the wheel, lion, dog, serpent, &c. In Turkey the ... Some show the face of the sun surrounded by rays, more commonly we find some form of radiating device. Many appear like Stars, roses, or merely patterns which are degenerate forms of solar origin.