Tuesday, November 18, 2014

US Cavalry training films

Salve,
today a little video post, for to my surprise, I found out that  WWW premier digital library aka Archive.org has several wonderful films from 1920s -1940s showing real cavalry skills and training:

First, Centaurs - cavalrymen and their horses from 1920 -  perhaps the French?

US cavalry -  unfordable stream crossing training

US cavalry -  platoon mounted to dismounted action -
US government official film  - History of cavalry 
US cavalry  drill manual from 1909 - a book

On google's youtube there are many other important films from the bygone era of horse soldiers:

Military riding - US cavalry instructions -  8 short films
a bit different one - dangerous ride in this British cavalry - snow-covered stipple chase route - film.

Finally, I have been readind on the Boer War and horses there and found this
archival material - short film - which is very interesting, in may opinion, for it shows British forces during the 2nd Boer War. 

On a lighter note - perhaps a fine horse war movie to watch is the Aussie film - The Lighthorsemen - so perhaps your local library has one :)

On youtube there is a Polish (1937) film ( some real Polish cavalrymen in this feature film while the dialogues  written by famous Polish historical novelist Wacław Gąsiorowski, more on wikipedia) about a cavalryman during the Duchy of Warsaw period and the war of 1809Ułan Księcia Józefa.

Another old Polish film - a comedy - about Polish pre-1939 cavalry in this 1934 feature film titled 'Śluby ułańskie'.
 enjoy

ps
 these old Polish films are also interesting - Przeor Kordecki - defence of the Częstochowa Monastery in this feature film (1934) .
Hero of two countries - Poland and USA (or four or five, for also in Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine) - general Tadeusz Kościuszko's 1794 insurrection in this feature film (1938) titled  'Kościuszko pod Racławicami' (Kosciuszko at Raclawice)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hodów AD 1694 - pare rzeczy



Salve,
this entry will be in Polish:

ostatnio legendarnie wrecz mitologizowana acz  interesujaca zabytkami kultury naszej bitwa hodowska (linki et dyskusja na historycy.org) miala miejsce w koncu panowania Jana III Sobieskiego, w okresie jednej z najdluzszych wojen toczonych przez Rzeczypospolita  z Turcja Osmanska i jej lennikami, zwlaszcza Chanatem Krymskim, bo rozpoczeta w 1672, a z Chanatem jeszcze w 1666. Nie byla to ostatnia bitwa z Tatarami krymskimi, bo ta byla bitwa pod Podhajcami 1698, juz za panowania Augusta Mocnego.

 Sama bitwe opisuje tzw ''Ułamek djarjusza pisanego w obozie królewskim na Podolu roku 1694'' - po naszej polskiej stronie walczyli husarze i pancerni - eg husarz z okresu. a pancerni byc moze podobni tutaj.






Dostepny takze jest francuski tekst z Gazette du France  opisujacy wydarzenia z czerwca AD 1694 roku
 - via   gallica Hodow.


Sama wies Hodow, w  ''Słowniku geograficznym Królestwa Polskiego'', s.87-88
  i XIX wiecznej   Encyklopedii Powszechnej:
 Ciekawostka jest, ze sama bitwa byla w kregu zainteresowan badaczy  na poczatku XIX wieku, i stala sie byla przedmiotem paru utworow literackich w tymze wieku.
..
Wiersz Jana Podoleckiego :


Ferdynand Dienheim Prawdzic Chotomski napisal i wydal w Paryzu w 1845 roku
poemat historyczny -  ''Jan Zahorowski, opowiesc histryczna z czasow Jana Sobieskiego'' - co ciekawsze ten epos jest ilustrowany, nizej ilustracja pokazujaca pomnik hodowskiej bitwy.


Mlody wowczas badacz, dziennikarz i publicysta z zaboru austryjackiego Adam Tomasz Chłędowski opisal istniejacy pomnik bitwy pod Hodowem  w periodyku literackim - Pamietnik Lwowski (1817), oto opis:



..
 'Kronika Pomorzanska' opowiedziana a nastepnie wydana przez Bronisława Zamorskiego (wydana wlasnym sumptem autora we Lwowie AD 1867, min autora pracy o Powstaniu Listopadowym) opisuje min wydarzenia dotyczace bitwy  roku 1694, jako jedne z najwazniejszych ktore mialy miejsce w okolicach Pomorzan. Fragmenty zawieraja takze stan wiedzy naukowej i popularnej na czasy autora Kroniki. Strony 126 do 136 odnosza sie do potrzeby hodowskiej etc, podkreslajac podstac Zahorowskiego.











...
I sam imci pan Jan Zahorowski herbu Korczak wraz z przodkami i rodzina jest opisany w Herbarzu Niesieckiego, tom 10,  strony  24-26.
                                                        ***
ps
krotkie az bardzo interesuajce nagranie z rozpoczecia konferencji o bitwie hodowskiej, ktora miala miejsce w Zbarazu (Ukraina) w tym roku, przy okazji odnowienia orginalnego pomnika bitwy hodowskiej - relacja na Kresy
                                                        ===
ps'
przepraszam za razacy brak polskich znakow, wkrotce to poprawie - mea culpa.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11 - sketches & Krita

Salve,
November 11 is a big day for all Poles around the world, as we celebrate our modern Independence Day, the anniversary going back to the end of World War I (that wrecked havoc, mayhem and rapine on our Polish soil betweeb 1914-18) and 3 years of war that modern republic of Poland faced all around her borders between 1918-21 - so happy Independence Day, my dear Poland - :)
                                  Vivat Respublica Poloniae

                                                       **

Happy Veterans Day - in the US - all the best to all veterans of foreign wars.
...a fine example of a veteran, an equine one - sgt. Reckless, a 14 hands mare that 'fought' along the US troops (Marine Corps) during the Korean War - more here

                                                        *

       I updated my Linux Ubuntu to 14.10 version and with that finally I will get to play with Krita, (2.8 version) after reading and watching all these presentations on David Revoy's page and Ramon Miranda's site .

So I started converting one of my unfinished sketches using Kirta and also playing with another sketch (but with MyPaint only).






..



Ps
I received a copy of Bruno Mugnai & Chris Flaherty's Osprey like book Der Lange Turkenkrieg (1593-1606)La Lunga Guerra Turca- The Long Turkish War, vol I, published by the Soldiershop Publishing from Italy. I want to thank signor Bruno Mugnai for a complementary copy of their book - molto gracie!

I have delayed my review  of this splendid little volume and shortly should blog about it in some detail.

Enjoy

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kimmerians - sketches

Salve,
I have been doing some reserach into the Koban culture and the Kimmerioi or Kimmerians (Cimmerians), or 'Gimiraa' in the Assyrian texts,  and obviously there are many sketches I have been drawing.
 Nota bene I believe these are the Kimmerians or at least Indoeuropean nomads fighting the Assyrian in IX century BC - first known image of a Parthian shot. Talked about this here

These two are the colour one, in progress, but I would like to share them with you, gentle web travellers :)


If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy the Fall with its colours.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Kurz Journal - p.3


Salve,
today is All Saints' Day - one of the most important  days in Polish religious and family calendar - I wrote about  the day after All Saints Day or 'Zaduszki'   last year. May your ancestors rest in peace and do light a candle. Pacem aeternam

                                           + + +

Meantime, back to Herr Kurz and his journal:
It was April 1848 and our artist left the civilised comforts of St.Louis to go upriver,  because:
 
I longed to study Indians and wild animals.

choosing as hus destination a newer settlement up the river
 
I decided to go to St. Joseph on the Missouri. There I should
certainly find Indians enough : The region in the midst of which the
town was situated was open Indian country, belonging to the Kicka-
poo, and the town itself was a rendezvous for fur traders of Missouri and 
Nebraska, just as Independence was a center for Santa Fe fur traders 
and, at an earlier date, St. Louis for the entire furtrading region of the West. 

where he arrived on April 18:
 
St. Joseph, once the trading post of Joseph Robidoux, is situated
at the foot of the Black Snake Hills on the left bank of the Missouri.
Though the town was founded only six years ago there are evidences
already of a rapidly expanding and flourishing city. In spite of the
fact that there are many new buildings, both of wood and of brick,
houses, either for homes or for business purposes, are hard to get.
Upon my arrival the principal streets were much enlivened by fur
traders and immigrants on their way to regions, as yet little known,
in Oregon and California. The rich gold mines were not then dis-
covered. Only the most daring fur traders had penetrated into that
far country and, following in their wake, a rough, lawless set of
adventurers, eager for gain and best pleased with what the strong
hand won, traveled the same trail in armed bands with pack mules
and covered wagons.

Hence there, at St. Joseph, he became introduced to the American Fur Trade and  finally met the fur traders and their 'field employees' - trappers aka mountainmen , before meeting the Indians:
Throughout the entire summer bourgeois or the heads of firms,
clerks, and other engagees or employees of the different fur companies
crowded the streets and public houses of the town. St. Joseph is for
them now what St.Louis was earlier — their rendezvous. Here all
staple commodities are supplied from St. Louis, but horses are
bought up for the purpose of selling them to the Indians on the upper
Missouri and on the Platte or Nebraska. There packs of buffalo hides
(as many as 10 packs at a time) are reshipped on the steamers, the
empty mackinaw boats sold and their crews discharged.
Those people are called Mountaineers,* a name associated with many 
dangerous adventures, much painful endurance, but also with much ro-
mance and pleasure. The Mountaineers like best to dress themselves
in clothes made of tanned deerskin, embroidered and fringed. One
recognizes them, therefore, at sight ; knows who they are and whence
they come. They are stared at as though they were bears. Not
infrequently they have no other apparel then their leather costume,
for after a long stay any other clothing would be entirely worn out.

It seldom happens, however, that these engagees have ever seen
the Rocky Mountains, much less braved their dangers. But, on the
other hand, they are compelled to work very hard in cold, rain, and
storm. The Canadian engagees, guides in the Canadian woods,
'mangeurs de lard,' ** are known to have swaggered through the most
breakneck dangers in which they were inclined to play an important
role. However, they cannot reckon courage as the most striking of
their fine qualities.

 
They have far too much regard for their own safety to fight for an
 employer about whom they constantly complain, because he
demands work done in return for his money. Later on, when I 
reached the upper Missouri, I observed a great many of
these swaggerers. In that distant region, beyond the pale of law, I
have often seen them cry out in alarm at the mere sight of a stranger
in the distance and take to flight — even throwing aside their weapons
or implements as if those instruments of defense did not belong to
them. They are, on the other hand, the most good-tempered people
and especially good patrons of the innkeepers if they have any part
of their wages left when they reach home. Few of them are provi-
dent enough to put aside any part of their earnings to buy house
and land or to settle down to their earlier employment.

We already know he is drawing a lot, so this time Herr Kurz was working with wild animals of the region:
   American Black Bear 
A black bear, captured and enchained, gave me the welcome oppor-
tunity to study his kind. He was absolutely black ; not even a trace
of gray or brown, even on his upper lip. 

To-day an Iowa farmer brought into the town a live
badger, in a piece of hollow tree, to exhibit him for sale. I bought
the animal for $4 and kept him about a month in my bedroom, pro-
viding him daily with meat, bread, and fresh fruit. He was quite
well-behaved toward me but during the night scratched out great
pieces of plastering at the foot of my bedroom walls. Now and then
I allowed him to run in the outlying fields to get some exercise and
to amuse me with his way of digging in. He could not run any
faster than I usually walked. If I went along behind him he moved
straight ahead; if I walked beside him then he tried to escape in
the opposite direction. In less than 10 minutes he would burrow
his whole length into the rich, loose soil and then I had to pull him
out by his tail. When he was set upon by dogs it was a matter of no
importance to him so long as they made a frontal attack; but as he
was not able to turn his head, on account of his stiff, thick neck, the
instant he was attacked from the side he was lost. He was skilled
in the art of biting ; he had a queer sort of bark somewhat like that
of a fox. After I made repeated drawings of him I was obliged to
have him killed ; the damage he did was so far in excess of his good
uses. I had his pelt tanned, in order to use it for a hunting bag, but

it proved to be too greasy to be of service. However, I brought it
home with me.

enjoy :)  
Original spelling in the 'Italicised text'  of the Journal. Drawings by Remington, paintings by Charles Deas, George Catlin and Alfred Jacob Miller - all public domain.

Note that the Platte Territory was purchased from the native tribes by the US government in 1836 -  being part of the so called Missouri Territory, officially acquired in 1812. Fur trader  Robidoux secured a piece of land within the Ioway tribe lands of the Blacksnake Hills country. Kurz claims in the Journal that the land around St. Joseph  belonged to the Kickapoo, who were newcomers to the region, unlike the native Ioways etc - perhaps this needs more investigating :)
ps
*
Mountainmen or trappers - fine library -  primary sources on and by the subject

**
mangeurs de lard - 'eaters of salted pork' - old term applied to the most inexperienced  voyageurs of the fur trade era in French Canada who paddled fur laden canoes between Montreal and Grand Portage.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Napoleonic bridle

Salve,
horsing  around I did some sketches of the Napoleonic cavalry bridles, mostly used by the light and line cavalry.  Plenty good info on the Napoleonic cavalry at this site - napolun
Here you can view prints by Bellange showing various soldiers of the Napoleon’s army.
Excellent prints (77 of them) by Carle Vernet showing le Grand Armee crica 1812 can be viewed and downloaded at wiki commons
My own sketch is a ballpen one, on paper, and it is a part of a dozen sketches studying brildes of the Napoleonic cavalry.
 
Well, 2015 should be great for the Napoleonic history afficionado, for the very next year there will be the 200 anniversary of Waterloo, and there will be a huge celebration/commemoration of this eventful  battle, I hope to attend for I am certain the reenactment festivities will be the most memorable.

Two days ago a uhlan and the last Hubalczyk, from the famous major Dobrzański's ( 'Hubal' ) Polish army unit, that fought the Nazi Germans after October 1939 as guerilla or partisan unit,  rejoined his commander and comrades in the eternal service to his country and God - Pacem aeternam, Romuald Rodziewicz !

Looking at some paintings, I found this Trojan War theme painting  to nicely close this entry, my thoughts with the passing of the last Hubalczyk - one by Antoine Wiertz, a Belgain Romantic painter of prodigial talents and herculanean strenght displayed in this piece

enjoy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rudolph F. Kurz - Journal 2

Salve,
staying with Herr Kurz and his journal, another bit I want to share with you.
First, a little note he writes about the American horses he saw in Saint Louis early in his adventure:

''During the first 3 months of the year 1848 I painted a number of horses from life.
 I saw them all day long, standing before my window. American horses are bred 
from no particular stock but area product of much cross-breeding. 
They are, on the whole, excellentfor riding but not strong enough for draft horses.
 Indian ponies - dwarfed horses — resemble in many respects the spirited 
but some-what delicate Breton trotters.''

Second, about the backwoods farmers, cattle and horses.. for their wives:
  

Meanwhile, I made my first acquaintance with the American log cabin and the backwoodsman. The fellow chewed tobacco incessantly, spitting his brown juice right and left. The mother smoked a pipe as she swayed back and forth in a rocking chair, a piece of furniture as indispensable, it seems, as a bed. The log house is built usually with only one room; the huge fireplace serves for kitchen. The entire family and their guests sleep in that room,; its only vestige of ornamentation was found in pieced-together bed coverings called quilts. There is no trace of running water, vegetable gardens, flower gardens, or orchards, and,as compared with ours, the same might be said of their stables and granaries. The people themselves were most friendly and seemed to be contented with their lot, because they were easily satisfied.As to their appearance, they did not look healthy. Even the native-born Americans are not exempt from fever. The freshly broken forest land is by no means salutary for any one. The backwoods-man, therefore, is wont to be a tall, gaunt man with hollow chest and pale, almost ashen, complexion.

The food of these people consists, three times a
day, of black coffee with a bit of brown sugar, fried ham and
hominy (boiled maize), corn bread, and molasses. The children
are very fond of crumbling their corn bread in warm ham gravy.
Although they possessed cows and chickens, milk and eggs were
a rarity in winter.The backwoodsman seemed not to have the least
idea of stall feeding; it was far too much trouble for him to
arrange, particularly in the depths of the forest. Furthermore, he
cared too little about cattle to put himself to the inconvenience of
giving them the necessary attention; consequently, the poor beasts
presented, in winter,a sorry sight, shocking to a native of
Switzerland. At a zigzag fence that enclosed the house lot the cows had
to stand exposed to the wind, snow, and rain. With shoulders and
hoofs thrust forward and their gaunt backs covered with a crust of
snow, half-starved,benumbed with cold, their only possible comfort
the smell of corn nearby, they seemed to me the embodiment of
misery.[...] 



As excuse for this negligence toward his poor cattle the farmer declared that the beasts were better adapted to the out-of-doors than to stall feeding and, accordingly, Nature had provided especially for them; there was forage enough under the snow. With regard to wild cattle that is, in a way, true, but not when it is a question of domestic annuals.
Every beast loses in instinct in proportion to what it gains by training. The farmer gave a peck of corn more to a cow with a young calf (also, to a sow with a litter of pigs), so that the animals would not stray too far. He accustomed the cow to stay near the house, where she longingly and with bovine patience looked forward to having the corn, that she constantly smelled in the nearby corncrib, at last between her teeth. If she preferred to be independent and wander around for food, not appearing again in the evening, then the farmer went after her and brought her back with a whip and many a "hulloa" and "damn." If this treatment of cattle were confined to the backwoodsman only, it might be explained, for he cannot grow hay in the forest and has to feed his cattle on corn. But the same thing is true in the West: one rarely sees even a well-to-do farmer there who cuts winter forage, and not even then unless he lives near cities or towns, where he can sell the hay at a good price. 


...
 
The horses were protected during severe weather for the reason that the backwoodsman's wife was especially fond of horseback riding. "Visiting" — that is, riding around to visit the neighbors — is for the farmer's wife what "shopping" is for the city woman. 



ps
paintings of George Caleb Bingham - from Wikipedia

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rudolph F. Kurz - the journal 1



Salve,
I have been very interested in the history of the American Indians of the Great Plains, especially during the period of 1630s (when the Plains Apaches started riding the Spanish New Mexico on horseback) to 1868) ( the second Treaty of Fort Laramie).
I especially enjoy the period literature written by the traders, trading companies officials, and mountain men and travellers written during the late XVIII and first half of the XIX century, during the so called Fur Trade period on the Plains.
The Journal of Rudolph F. Kurz belongs to this class of sources, and yet is more unusual than the most, for it was written by an artist who perennially short of funds came to the US via New Orleans, and then worked his way up the the trading posts of the American Fur Trade Company where  lived and worked on the Upper Missouri, drawing the tribal peoples and writing about his life on the Plains ( including working under the boss Edwin Thompson Denig, whose life and work will become the subject of some posts, I hope - via archive.org library collection).
The Journal was written in German and finally translated by Myrtis Jarrell and published by Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology   in 1937. The American editor of Kurz's journal  J. N. B. Hewitt wrote in the foreword (Washington 1937) :

Mr. Kurz witnessed a number of historically important events in 
the valley of the Mississippi River. While in this great western 
region he learned much of the final westward migration of the 
Mormon people resulting from the bitter hostility of the white peo- 
ple with whom the Mormons came in contact. 

He likewise witnessed the great rush westward of the money-mad 
to California after the reported discovery of gold there. His com- 
ments on these events are sometimes rather caustic, but they appear 
to be based on his own observations. Mr. Kurz is especially critical 
in his remarks on the causes and the conduct of the Mexican War, 
which had broken out just before he reached this country. 

Mr. Kurz lived at several of the great trading posts of the fur 
companies on the Missouri River, being occupied at times as a clerk, 
especially at Forts Berthold and Union, and so came into direct 
contact with the daily lives of the Indians, of the carefree traders, 
and of the officers of these trading posts. 

It was this intimacy with the private lives of these several classes 
of people which supplied him with the data he so interestingly in- 
corporated in his narrative, since he witnessed conditions which have 
long ago passed into oblivion along with the buffalo. 

At all times he evinced a deep sympathy for the Indians in their 
struggle against the destructive encroachments of the white man, 
and so he willingly excused the Indians for their foibles. 

Maestro Kurz wrote about himself:

[...]from my earliest youth primeval forest and Indians had an in-
describable charm for me. In spare hours I read only those books 
that included descriptions and adventures of the new world; even 
my own beautiful homeland pleased me best in its records of primi- 
tive times, when sturdy shepherds and huntsmen, with their noble 
forms unconcealed — like the "woodmen" in heraldry or the Germans 
of Tacitus — roamed freely in the virgin woods where dwelt the 
aurochs and the stag, the bison and the gazelle, the wild boar and the 
unicorn, the chamois and, what is more, the dragon. Now primeval 
forests exist only in inaccessible mountain fastnesses ; cultivation ex- 
tends even to the snow-capped peaks. Man's habitations spread over 
the whole earth; there are churches and schoolhoiises without num- 
ber; yet where are men found dwelling together in unity? "Where 
does sober living prevail? Or contentment? I longed for unknown 
lands, where no demands of citizenship would involve me in the 
vortex of political agitations. I longed for the quietude of imme- 
morial woods where no paupers mar one's delight in beauty, where 
neither climate, false modesty, nor fashion compels concealment of 
the noblest form in God's creation ; where there is neither overlord- 
ship of the bourgeois nor the selfishness of the rich who treasure 
their wealth in splendid idleness, while the fine arts languish. 

When I was allowed to devote myself to painting, those longings 
became all the more intense for the reason that, from the moment 
I determined to become an artist, my life purpose was fixed : I would 
devote my talents to the portrayal of the aboriginal forests, the wild 
animals that inhabited them, and to the Indians. From that mo- 
ment I had an ideal — a definite purpose in life to the attainment of 
which I might dedicate all my powers. To depict with my brush 
the romantic life of the American Indian seemed to me a subject 
worthy of the manifold studies I was to undertake. In fact, the 
comprehensiveness of the plan proved my greatest difficulty, because, 
in the study of art, landscape and animals require each a special 
training that is only little less important than that demanded for the 
representation of human beings. Many years would be required of 
me, if I was to attain to mastery in a single one of these subjects. 
Nevertheless, my enthusiasm for art, my perseverance and untiring 
patience — self-will, as this trait is often named — gave me fair hopes 
of realizing my aims. 

I spent 12 years in preparation for my professional tour. Dur- 
ing that time I had wavered between this country and that in trying 
to make up my mind which would be the best field for my work. 
It was not merely a question as to which zone afforded the most
luxuriant landscape and the greatest variety of wild animals, but, 
above all else, which country afforded, also, the most perfect type 
of primitive man; for, as my studies progressed, my ideals became 
more exacting, my aims more lofty : I aspired to attain to the excel- 
lence of antique art — yes, still more, to equal Raphael's master works. 
Accordingly, it was no longer my purpose to portray the Indian 
as an end in itself but to employ that type as a living model in the 
portrayal of the antique. Baron Alexander von Humboldt, whom 
I had the honor to meet in Paris in 1839, recommended Mexico as 
the country above all others that would serve my purpose best. 
The lofty Cordilleras, the luxuriant vegetation of the tropics, the 
Comanche Indians, the buffalo, etc., were all there together— un- 
surpassed in any other geographical zone. In Brazil and in Suri- 
nam, it is true, vegetation was much more abundant, but, on the 
other hand, the wild animals were less varied in kind and the In- 
dians not so finely formed. Furthermore, the North American In- 
dian, inasmuch as he has to exert himself to a greater degree for his 
livelihood, has far more intelligence and energy than his southern 
brother. 

In 1839 I decided in favor of Mexico and, so eager was my desire 
for travel, I would have set out thither at once had not my friend 
Karl Bodmer restrained me with his good advice. He wisely urged 
me not to be in too great haste, but first to become so practiced in 
the drawing of natural objects and in the true representation of 
animals and of mankind that the matter of technique would no 
longer offer the least difficulty. Then I should be able to discern 
quickly the natural characteristics peculiar to the region in question 
and to portray the forms with facility and ease. It is an undoubted 
fact that, when one has to labor painfully with drawing, perspective, 
and the combining of colors while sketching or painting an object or 
scene, life and action suffer thereby. One must have a practiced 
hand and an experienced eye to be able to indicate with a few swift 
strokes the preeminent characteristics of an object, which he can 
keep in mind upon painting the same or else recover always with 
ease. The ability merely to make sketches would not avail me. I 
must devote myself to prolonged study in art. 


Regarding the so called scientific aspect of the journal Kurz said:

No scientific de-scriptions of natural life, as studies of mine, will be found 
therein. That work has been admirably done by recognized scientists such as
 Audubon, Prince Neu Wied, and others. My pictorial representations are more
 complete, more accurate in so far as the animals are portrayed together with
 the terrain that offers the best setting for them, and the Indians are 
represented not only in their ceremonial garb but also in the dress of 
everyday life. An artist depicts but one moment of an action, though there 
may be many more ideas as well as descriptions of habits and customs 
that, while not suitable to his purpose, are interesting and justify an 
account of the whole action. On the other hand, the pictorial delineation
is supposed to be a clearer, more complete picture than the most perfect
description in words. 

The task as he saw it:

My chief task in this work was to give from my own observation 
a sincere portrayal of the American Indian in his romantic mode of life,
true representation of the larger fur-bearing animals and of 
the native forests and prairies. The pictures are intended to be true 
to nature but chosen from the standpoint of the picturesque and de- 
picted in an aesthetic manner. They are intended to satisfy natural- 
ists as well as artists, to broaden the knowledge of the layman and 
serve at the same time to cultivate his taste. 
 

Armed with pencil and brushes and his enthusiasm messer Kurz set out from Bern, Switzerland and arrived in Louisiana in December 1846, and so his American adventure began...
                                                    ***
In the coming weeks I hope to include here some of the Kurz's description of the Plains people and their horse culture, including the drawings. All the text and drawings come from the 1937 publication available on archive.org
ps
the drawing above -  it perhaps shows the artist himself during his life on the Plains, with an 'Indian pony'

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Polish Winged hussar - a toy soldier

Salve,
when I was a boy there were very few toy soldiers one could play with that were related to our Polish Commonwealth history (perhaps our Communist overlords did not envision too much glory to the noble cavalry).

 So there were several different winged hussars made from various plastic and rubber materials, but nothing really fancy and durable, and now these figures are a collector items in Poland (eg 1, 2, 3) .
For some years I have been buying for my son various quasi historical figurines  from Schleich, Papo and some others.
Now, my friend and great artist, Grzegorz 'ducz' Kupiec, has been sculpting figurine toys for the toy company from Poland named Tissotoys.

Some of these figurines are clear representation of our  Polish (and Czech, like the immortal Krecik- Krtek) most famous  children films or comics characters, and he always wanted to have some Polish knights and winged hussars.

but the figurine line also includes a growing number of historical toys also designed to be used as toys by children and ... adults alike  :) .  The historical figurines thus far  are: pan Zagloba, colonel of dragoons, Zaporozhian Cossak (based on the principal characters from Henryk Sienkiewicz's 'Trylogy') and a winged hussar.

My most favourite, obviously,  is this figurine of a winged hussar:


I hope the museum shops in the States, like  the MET, Chicago, or Philadelphia where Polish winged hussar armours and weaponry are held, will be selling them to children.
 The company plans to have 'ducz' sculpt more hussars and other Polish historical figurines from various periods - from the Medieval knights to World War II toys soldiers. I do hope so.  I am more than certain that 'duch' will deliver many more great figurines, to the utmost delight of children and collectors.

ps
please note I do not own the rights to these photos and the Tissotoy company kindly allowed me to show them to you on my blog.
ps'

also, do note that I have no financial interest in this company nor I was approached to write this little entry. I am simply happy to see these fine figurines enter the children toy market, and additionally I am going to buy some for my own children (ok, and for myself as well).