Sunday, November 22, 2009

Old watercolour - Plains warrior fantasy

hello again,
long time ago I drew a sketch of a mounted Native warrior, and then  I went over it with 'dry-brush' watercolour - the end result was  this rather fantasy-related drawing of a Plains rider (North American native warrior of the pre-1840s).
As I can recall my then-intent it had to do with this idea of showing a native warrior along with his war paraphernalia - coup stick, long lance, bow and arrows etc - displaying a captured musket/rifle and cartridge pouch of a US army soldier.
I say pre-1840s because he has tanned leather tubular leggings with coup marks and has not many items that can be related to the European, Mexican or American manufacture. His hair is adorned with eagle feathers with coup marks and his medicinal bird - crow or some other black bird . while his concave shield with various ritual images and hawk feathers etc should have been held by a shoulder strap and/or rim handle, as Plains shields were not held in the Old World fashion, by a hoop or handle in the middle of a shield.
He has a blanket wrapped around his hips, a typical Plains fashion until the end of the era, i.e., early XX century. In the millenia old tradition he painted his pace, and  his torso and arms, and has a gorget-like shell and trade beads  necklace on his chest. I gave him a choker but I do not think it was a good idea, well, too late as watercolours are hard to correct..
His mount has a eagle feather in its forelock, medicine and war exploits marks painted  on its body - coup marks etc, while there is a scalp lock hoop hanging on the war bridle, note that the bridle is but  a single rawhide rope with its end trailing the ground. The function of the scalp lock attached to the war bridle was not only to show this horse and its owner's war prowess, but also more practical as it caused a horse to keep its head lower when moving or risk being smacked around the sensitive head ( nostrils, jaw, face etc)  by the hooped scalp lock - quite ingenious horse-riding aide invented by the Plains tribes, well attested in the rock  and ledger art of the Plains. I am not showing his apishamore (Piegan word for the treeless leather/hide Plains saddle)but it may be covered with his blankets etc.
Horse's tail is tied for war and thus not visible.

There are things that I missed: a knife in a decorated sheath, war-club or hatchet. Proportions are off and things are unsteady but I still like this image, so it will stay.

   I got another old watercolour of Plains mounted warrior  that I will post next time the Plains warriors are subject of my notes and musings.
pa ka

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