Friday, January 15, 2010

Kon Polski Polish Horse

         With this post I am returning to the horses, saddles and Polish-Lithuanian ( we could add Ukrainian as Ukraine was Polish then too, while Lithuania) horse tack of the XVI-XVIII (16-18th) centuries. The most preeminent Polish hippologist  prof. Witold Pruski wrote in his seminal work - "Two Centuries of Polish Breeding of the  Arabian Horses  (1778-1978)" -  that the best horse flesh in Old Poland came from what today constitutes the former Soviet Republic of  Ukraine.
 Contrary to many legends and good wishing these horse were not Arabians, but of Central Asian  and Anatolian & Armenian (Turkish) origin - I will write about that some other time.
Prof Pruski stated in the chapter I of his book that  the Turkish horse was an exclusive, particular breed of war horses bred  by the Ottoman Turks (especially in the ancient Armenian kingdom of Cilicia incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in the beginning of the XVI (16th) century)  ).
Our Polish horses were often with ram's head and Roman-nosed, adhering to the old Ancient Roman standards for horse head - small in size, noble, thin skinned, alert and pointy ears, wide nostrils, intelligent and prominent eyes {one day I am going to write about that :) ] .

Nobody painted better Old Polish horses than Jozef Brant and Juliusz Kossak, two Polish painters of the XIX (19th) century.
Jozef Brant
Juliusz Kossak

In my humble drawing (by the way a different version of this drawing was published here in October 2008) a 'pacholik' (young servant/retainer) holds a rumak (from Turkish word argamak that in turn comes from a Persian word - he, horse traditions always lead to the ancient Iranians of Eurasian steppe and Central Asia)  dressed as winged hussar horse.

Rumak (Polish nobles rode stallions to war)  is saddled with a 'siodło usarskie' (hussar war saddle) of mixed Central Asian, Ottoman Turkish, Crimean Tatar and Italian provenance with a Tatar-Polish stirrup,  a smaller Turkish or Tatar 'czaprak' (shabraque) underneath the saddle, while the horse  is a bitted with a curb-bit. There are weapons too, a set of wheellock pistols, most likely German in manufacture, and a long armour piercing 'koncerz' ( tuck) attached to the saddle.  Feathers on his poll, feathered wing at the saddle, and a buńczuk - horse tail (Turkish-Tatar tug/kutas) - at his throat completes the picture..

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