Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ancient bit from Dodona Sanctuary

Salvete Omnes,
a little time jump today, we will time travel to the ancient Epirus where at Dodona since the time immemorial had been a sanctuary and oracle.
Pegasus or  winged horse from Louvre

Excavations brought forward various and amazing objects of art from across the ancient Greek antiquity.
 Among them, on display at the Athens Museum,  there are the fine examples of the ancient metal forging arts from the IV century BC/Ante Christum , a two different bit parts (one from Dodona, and one from an unknown location), shown at the museum as one large bit: with large S psalia and elaborate discs on the 'bit-bar,' shortened ringchain and studded bars between the psalia and discs. The s-shaped psalia or cheekpieces look a bit like the wild boar's tusks and could make the horse head appear quite unusually grotesque. Similar bit is displayed on the Alexander Mosaic.

the way this composite bit is constructed or displayed on a see-through horse's head -
- with its discs sharp, pointy and this large inside the horse's mouth and the metal chain rings joining the two pieces very short and with rings loose inside the mouth (perhaps dangling on the tongue) to create one horse bit,
- then perhaps this display  in this entirety presents a hypothetical piece of horse equipment, and not a real one (my old rendering of the Persian bits now make me think twice about them too). Because how would they  operate this bit without completely ruining a horse's mouth  (as it is 'reconstructed' in the museum).

a horse from Dodona, rider missing - note this  horse with rider from Boston Museum, dated to late VI century BC.
horse from Louvre

Alexander Mosaic from Pompei -  the Persian Achaemenid horses with S-shaped bit


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Codex Canadensis - horses et al

Salvete omnes,
Columbus Day or the day of discovery of the Americas by the Europeans is tomorrow although in the US its celebration's changes the date and actually hoovers around the 12th of October (this year it was the 8th).
On wiki commons there is a gallery of extraordinary works from circa AD 1700, showing the American Indians, flora and fauna of New France or the France held lands in North America.
The collection is called Codex Canadensis and was perhaps drawn by Luois Nicolas,  one of the Jesuit priest-missionaries in la Nouvelle-France.

Among the drawings there are two plates showing horses.
 I am not sure about the early horse history in present day  Canada.  So let's put some faith in the writing that says that the drawing shows one of the stallions sent (along with 60 fine mares) to New France in 1660s. And that from these horses more fine horses were bred in French Canada.
Canadian horse breeders association put on their webpage that the French horses were sent in 1663 and that there were 12 of them, but more shipments followed.
Perhaps this horse is a spotted one,

Dr Deb Bennett in her book Conquerrors states that this horse is of Breton horse ancestry. (page 390).
Francis Parkman in his book - Count Frontenac and New France Under Louis XIV - writes about the horses in Quebec a bit - first, that the stocking of the country with cattle, sheep and horses was done with the royal shipments and at king's expense and distributed gratuitously among the settlers, and no youngones were to be killed until there was enough stock to replenish itself (p.212-13). So perhaps horses had been arriving yearly for some time, eg one books claims period of 1665-1671, first shipment being 2 stallions and 20 mares.
Parkman writes more about the curious horse history in Quebec, namely circa 1710AD that the inhabitants engaged in horse breeding on  such large scale that this horse husbandry worried so much the royal governors (in true paternal fashion - he, he, the French absolutism) that the royal governor  proclaimed a new law forbidding the possession of more than 2 horse and 1 foal. Excess had to be removed away or killed  - presumably for meat and skin- in the ensuing harvest year (p. 279).
The second drawing shows a horse of the New Holland (New Netherland) or the Dutch colony in North America - although circa 1700 AD there were not Dutch colonies on the American continent, only in the Caribbean, and of Virginia of the Atlantic coast. Perhaps the Dutch imported those from the Spanish colonies or their holding in South America (Portuguese colonies there).
What is even more interesting those Canadian horse were being spread west and southwest from Quebec by French traders and their native trading partners. Deb Bennett wrote in her book that perhaps as early as 1675 Pierre Moreau known as La Taupine was trading horses to the Indians of the Illinois country (p. 384). Perhaps especially after the Montreal proclamation of 1710  that those French horses made their way onto edge the Great Plains, spreading from Ontario west to Saskatchewan and south to French outpost of St. Louis (present day Missouri). There they met the Spanish horses coming from the New Spain. During the XVIII century the Indian ponies and wild mustangs became a product of this mixing of Spanish and French-Canadian horses.

I think I have to get The Epic Journey of the Canadian Horse: History and Hope from Louis XIV to the Present in order to learn more

Friday, October 5, 2018

Cilician coins - Achaemenid Empire horsemen

Salvete Omnes,
I have not been to ancient Persia lately, hence there is this opportunity revisit, via Coin Archives .
In particular, there is this set of coins from Tarsos related to the period of 450-400 BC when a number(?) of  Syennesis of Cilicia (Cukurova, modern Turkey)  or the rulers of the Achaemenid satrapy, were important, perhaps semi-independent lords of that important satrapy during the tumultuous V century BC.
The coins contain plenty of detailed information - horse type, horse tack, tied forelocks and tails, arms and armor of the horsemen and king-divine figures etc.
1.fabulously detailed coin with a horseman typically armed with a bow and wearing kyrbasia
2. a horseman wearing a Median coat or kantus
3. another horseman wearing a kantus
4. horseman wearing kyrbasia
and more Cilcian satrapy coins - more or less damaged - but still amazing

details from drawings by Flandin of the Apadana (Persepolis) staircase procession

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Jozef Brandt - wyklady

u brodu

Salvete Omnes,
[in Polish]
jeden z moich ulubionych obrazów

30 września miała się zakończyć w Muzeum Narodowym w Warszawie wystawa prac Józefa Brandta -
 Wszechnica FWW opublikowała na swej stronie nagrania z wykładów na temat twórczości Jozefa Brandta.

Pewnie możemy zacząć od wykładu o samym panie Józefie i jego sukcesach w sztuce i życiu - Przemysława Głowackiego.

.... następnie 'Jak ubrać husarza' - Anna Straszewska i wydaje mi się dość ciekawa prezentacja tematu kolekcji broni i ubiorów Józefa Brandta jak i o tworzeniu wyobrażeń historycznych w malarstwie Brandta. Choć nie wolna od błędów rzeczowych - eg siodło polskie nazwane husarskim czy dywagacje na temat skrzydeł husarskich.
kupcy żydowscy w drodze na jarmark w Bałcie

Wykład Tomasza Mleczeka, który także obejrzałem w całości, jest mieszkanka ciekawych informacji oraz niestety mitów czy przeinaczeń. Ale opowiedziany z werwa i pasja.

  Bardzo ciekawy wykład o warsztacie twórczym Józefa Brandta - Anna Lewandowska


Sunday, September 23, 2018


Salvete Omnes,
some more images of the violent world of the picadores in paint, drawing and print & one old photo

all images are from Wiki Commons

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Romeyn de Hooghe - Haarlem Ad 1689

Salvete Omnes,
a quick peek into the XVII century Netherlands through the keen eye and engraving hand  of Romeyn de Hooghe.
Carriages, wagons and horsemen, also horses at a pasture around Haarlem as seen from northwest.