Thursday, April 17, 2014

Zygmunt Jan Rumel - cavalier & poet

today is the Good Thursday (part of Holy Week) ,  so couple more days and we will paint pisanki and celebrate Easter and Smigus Dyngus - :)
 But keeping in rather sombre mood, I have been reading and thinking about the presently growing civil war in Ukraine, so inadvertently I started reading about the other civil war that turned into  Volhynia genocide and I came across a gem: the poetry of Zygmunt Jan Rumel - Polish poet and soldier in Polish Ruthenia who was cruelly murdered by the UPA (УПА), along with his two soldiers, when came to negotiate with them the fate of Poles of Volhynia. 
Sadly, present day Ukrainian leaders and elites have not been willing to admit  the genocide of Polish families perpetrated by their grandfathers and grandmothers on their Polish neighbours and often family members, while the occupying German troops stood by.


Dwukonna pleciona
kolebka tatarka,
półksiężyc w strzemionach
i baszłyk i czarka!

W sajdaku chrzęst strzały,
a w jukach daktyle
i sery dwa białe
i mleko kobyle!

I kindżał i sokół
i kołpak czerkieski
i step co jest w oku
jak niebo niebieski!

Za lasem załkała
zozula turkawka,
a księżyc głos turlał
po rosy sadzawkach!

I liściem sznurował
srebrzyste baszłyki
i konie zacinał
czerwonym pokrzykiem!

A las się już zwinął
na bystre kopyto
I zaprzęg wypłynął
Znów w stepu koryto!

Burzanem! Burzanem!
W kręcone rozłogi!
Stój!! Dworu to ściany
Stanęły w bieg drogi!

Miesiąc biały
miesiąc biały
ostrowcem płynie –
płucze rosą
płucze rosą
warkocz kalinie –

Moje płyną
moje płyną
jaśniejsze kosy –
wijąc liczko
wijąc liczko
srebrniej od rosy –

Sinym stepem
sinym stepem
bojaryn jedzie –
miesiąc złoty
miesiąc złoty
kolebką wiezie –

Oj nie miesiąc
oj nie miesiąc
wiezie on złoty –
ale serca
ale serca
szczerą ochotę –

(czerwiec 1941)


    Na śmierć poety
    A kiedy go z wami nie będzie -
    Usypcie mu kurhan stepowy -
    Aby słyszał, jak burzan pieśń gędzie
    I wiatr stepem przewala się płowy...
    By mu miesiąc wstający z limanów
    Oczy prószył kitajką czerwoną...
    I kląskanie by słyszał bocianów,
    Gdy piórami lotnymi wiatr chłoną...
    Niech tam orły dziobami pieśń skraszą,
    A teorban piosenką zakwili...
    Bo o wolę on waszą i naszą
paintings by a Polish painter from Ruthenia  Jan Grzegorz Stanisławski

Monday, April 7, 2014

A sketch

just a quick sketch - loosely based on the Persian (Parthian & Sassanian) iconography. Done with watercolour and ball pen, then the second one was  desaturated and worked over (the second image) with GIMP

Enjoy :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Chivalry tournaments reenacted at Sankt Wendel, Germany

I came across the website of master of martial arts and historical riding Arne Koets, and from there I found this documentary  - The Grand Tournament at St. Wendel - that I would like to share with you.

Arno Koets site
more St. Wendel films  - 1, 2, 3 .. with reenactors like Dominic Sewell, Luke Binks, Tobias Capwell, Joram von Essen,   Petter Ellingsen, Andreas Wenzel et many others.

the saddles researched and  built by Joram van Essen et al.

  Sankt Wendel Tournament site
Program of tournaments in Europe, Canada, Australia, and US this year, via the Jousting Life
Interesting event this summer in Germany
Nice video from Denmark
Free lecture from  Dirk H. Breiding, Assitant Curator, Department of Arms and Armor, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (my most favourite museum in North America :) )on how to mount a horse in armour etc
 Die grossen Ritterspiele zu Schaffhausen

Caveat - jousting is inherently dangerous  and deadly
enjoy :)
 photos are from the St. Wendel Turnier site

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nolan's system for training cavalry horses (1862)

a while back I brought to your attention the works of Louis E.  Nolan.
In 1862 an American, Kenner Garrard (1828-1879), had a different version of Nolan's work published,  with new set of illustration plates(reflection US cavalry) and some more text, including Rarey's method of taming horses, and one on horse shoeing.
Mr Garrard was a Kentuckian by birth and a West Point graduate, who was a cavalry officer of the 2nd US Cavalry Regiment before the Civil War and fought the Amerindian raiders during the campaigns of the 1850s (almost died there bitten by a snake), and was part of the military command fighting the Kiowas and Comanches in Texas; then once the Civil War erupted he continued as a cavalry officer and commander in the Union Army, gloriously distinguished himself at Gettysburg and went on to lead various cavalry divisions, took part in the Atlanta campaign, amongst others being awarded for his gallantry on the filed of battle (Nashville 1864)
The text is available at
Below please find some of the 'American' plates


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Altdorfer's stradiots & early hussars

today master historian  Jacques Le Goff passed on - Pacem Aeternam !

ad rem,  I am going to stay on the subject of the early hussars and/or stradioti in the art of  Northern Renaissance, with a particular look at some figures painted by the famous German artist Albrecht Altdorfer .
Our master painted several very interesting Balkan early hussars or stradioti in his St. Florian altarpieces. It is interesting to note that in the last detail from St. Florian altarpieces we see a stradioto armoured and carrying a mace,

''The Battle of Alexander at Issus,'' his grand scale battle painting, at Alte Pinakothek at Munich, offers are more images of the Balkan light horsemen, some very similar to the figures of light horsemen painted in the Orsza painting.

More about stradioti in the future

interesting:  bloging about stradiots, and stradiots in miniature figurines

Monday, March 31, 2014

White Eagle - Miechowita Chronica Polonorum

circling around the Orsza battle anniversary and the White Eagle emblem in Polish historical iconography I found a perfect example of the eagle emblem used during the reign of king Sigismund Jagiellon (Sigismund I the Old). The Jagiellonian Dysnaty reign is still considered the Golden Age of Poland, however, unlike in the United Kingod and the US [sic! - it is a bit funny, the Americans, with the majority being of  German ethnicity, go gaga over the British Renaissance history :) ]  during the late XX and this  XXI century there have not been any works of popular culture, be it film, novels, plays nor graphic stories/comics about the Golden Era of Polish culture.

The image, a detail of the woodcut, comes from the title page of the first printed history of Poland, written by father Maciej z Miechowa, doctor in medicina filosofia, historian, alchemist, writer and scholar at the Jagiellonian University in Cracovia (Kraków), printed in AD1519.
I coloured the image(with GIMP) in accordance with surviving heraldic eagle images of king Sigismund I.

Also, in the same work, there are images of all Polish kings and princes, including the legendary ones (until AD1506). And amongst these woodcuts there are several interesting depictions of early sabres and also costumes of Renaissance Poles.
A few examples (do pay close attention to the swords and the method of carrying them, these are sabres and langes messer):
legendary forefathers of Poles (Lech) and Czechs (Czech)
Mieszko I

et Venceslaus

..and another eagle from the inside the text, also interesting I hope.
There is one more image from the book, however I will reserve it for another time, as there are also riders and horses in it...


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Eagle of king Władysław IV Waza

 per my project White Eagle I have been scanning the digital libraries for images of eagles in Polish art prior to 1795. In my opinion the most beautiful Polish eagles appeared in the Baroque art.
Today, while looking for some works of Samuel Twardowski I found a very nice image.
 This White Eagle in the Baroque setting shows itself beautifully in a woodcut from the Jesuit  father Adam Makowski's published sermon said on the occassion of Polish Crown victory druing the  the Polish-Muscovite War of 1632-34, where the genius of king Władysław IV Wasa (Vasa) shone its brightest..
This published sermon has a very nice long, Baroque name  -''Nadzieia Swięta Sczęśliwey Expedycyey Moskiewskiey y Zwycięstwa [...] Władysława IV.: Przy Łzach Wesołych Na Obrazie Naświętszey Panny w Myślenicach nowo widzianych.''(AD1634)
Please find the title page from the said publication
There is a famous 1634 map engraved by Willem Hondius studio after the drawings of royal military engineer Jan  Pleitner (done in situ),   showing this Polish victory.
 Nota bene the engraved coper plates survived the winds of war and destruction of time and are held in Sankt Petersburg Fine Arts Academy muzeum. We had some discussion about the Polish cavalry images from the map and Hondius/Pleinter on Kadrinazi blog.
I will bring some images from this monumental map in the future, as they hold very interesting information about horse care etc while at war.
 I added some color to show the king's coat of arms more clearly

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mercury wing - early hussars Orsza 1514

      following the post before the last post I am going to turn to a curious element of the Polish early hussars equipment depicted in the Orsza AD (1514 battle of Orsha now in Belarus) painting:
the so called Mercury wing or 'gilded, tooled leather flap attached to the boot 
instep' (''removed when not in saddle'')  - I am citing here what  dr David 
Nicolle  said in 'Polish Medieval Armies' (from Osprey Military Publishing) on 
page 47.
I am going to copy the reconstructed early hussar there with some comments 
on the reconstruction in the near future, following the thread on the 
anniversary of AD 1514 Orsza battle.
Anyway, the 'wing' seems to me  to follow the tradition of the Greek 
mythology, of the winged shoes worn by Hermes (Roman Mercury) and known
as 'talaria.' After all this was the Renaissance :) 

This Hungarian nobleman seems to be wearing them albeit covered by the 
hem of his caftan/robe..

The various styles of Mercury wing on Polish early hussars, plus stirrups,
spurs and boots; in the last detailed image the hussars had crossed the river 
and are removing water from their boots and clothing, soon to rejoin the
battle, and Mercury wing is nowhere to be seen, perhaps stowed away before
the crossing of Dnieper River:

 The above images come  from battle of Orsha painting AD 1520-30s