Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Old Drawings continued...

Now, this rider is supposed to ride an Arabian stallion – Polish noblemen usually rode stallions (and also  geldings), Polish XVII century literature is full of references (eg poetry of Waclaw Potocki) to a 'zrebiec' (young stallion or colt between 3 years to 6-7 years of age). Although many associate Arabians with the Polish horse breeding there is very scant evidence of Arabians being present in any significant numbers in our Polish nobility stables prior to mid 1800s. There are many references to the Arabians, like in the Royal Stud at Knyszyn (1570s) or during the post-Vienna 1683 period, but so called popular literature of the period, letters, inventories, legacies, testamentary provisions always talk about the Turkish horse as being the most noble and worthy.

This drawing also belongs to the same set, mentioned in the previous post, and is not really of any particular time frame etc. I used multicolor Pigma micron pens and watercolor, and lately went over with GIMP and Photoshop etc.

The fanciful hat comes form some XVIII century painting showing Bar Confederates (Polish Civil war of 1768-72 that ended in the First Partition of Poland between Prussia, Austria and Russia).
But his riding ┼╝upan or 'zhupan' is earlier, pre-mid 1600s, you can see that according to the Polish clothing fashion the lining is of a different color than the garment itself.
I drew him as a left-handed person but according to the primary sources left-handed persons and red-headed men were not really welcomed into the cavalry companies (banners or choragwie), as supposedly capable of bringing bad luck or being untrustworthy.
Nolens volens I did my drawing with with 'muy mucho gusto', as I liked the horse and the way this rider sat in the saddle – saddle I took from many painting by Polish preeminent painter of the historic genre - Julish Kossak. The stirrups are traditional Polish, his riding boots may be booty taken form a defeated Western reiter. Since he is a lefty his bowcase is on his right hip while under his left htugh he has a 'koncerz '(tuck, estoc), another steppe and Islamic weapon retained in Poland until the early XVIII century. Another very particular weapon of choice and prestige shown here is a 'nadziak' (warhammer), that during the 1600s became part of the national noble costume and in itslef was a fearsome weapon, its origins going back to the Scythian, Persian and Saka kings of the 600-500 BC.

My main interest here is the red mane and tail of his 'Arabczyk' (Arabian horse) – well, Polish noblemen copied so much the Turkish fashions that by the late 1500s  they were dyeing their horses, usually with red, and not only the horses mane and tail but also legs and lower belly. When Polish embassies made their entries into Rome and Paris (respectively 1630s and 1640s) the onlookers and chroniclers could no hide their wonder with the richly caparisoned and very spirited horses, with dyed bodies and manes and tails...

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