Monday, March 16, 2009
Back to Iranian Asb (horse and ... GIMP)
this time I am going to return for a moment to the subject of Ancient Iranians and their horses.
A couple years ago my friend Kaveh Farrokh wrote a book titled "Shadows in the Desert", on the military history of pre-Islamic Iran, and he asked me to paint a Parthian for his book. Happily and quite honored by his request I did this little watercolor for this Osprey book, see the link to googlebooks preview of the book. Coincidently his book has become quite popular.
Lately, after a long hiatus in my own artistic work, I first scanned and have been 'redoing' my old drawings and paintings using this quite fine graphic manipulation program known as GIMP. Instead of a mouse Iam using a device known as the Wacom tablet with gripen.
This new 'painting' technique is quite enjoyable and I am learning, and since this post is on the Iranians and their horses, I will start with this older image of a Parthian archer, and it was published by Inforteditions military book publisher from Chorzow Poland, in their book on the battle of Philippi (42 B.C) http://www.wanax.pl/index.php?p456,filippi-23-x-42-p-n-e .
Anyway, both sides to this battle, Octavian-Marcus Antonius and Brutus-Longinus, employed cavalry units drawn (hired) from across the Roman frontier, i.e., the Parthian Empire.
Whereas it is unknown if there were any Parthian cathaphracts (heavy-armored cavalry with long lances and armored horses ) in this battle, it is quite known that Parthian archers were present, for they were hired with a blessing form the High King. And my watercolor was to show one of the archers, using a horned saddle (Peter Connolly reconstructed one almost 20 years ago) and riding a stallion with a cranellated (cut) mane and fabric-wrapped tail, ancient Central Asian custom...