Friday, May 28, 2010

historic saddles reproduced

Memorial Weekend upon us in the USA, and time to take a dip in the ocean before that horrible BP Oil Spill in Mexican Gulf comes our way around the Florida Peninsula and up the Jersey shore  - :( .

I was surfing the net and came upon a Polish artist-saddle maker who reproduces historic saddles from XVII century onwards. They do look fantastic, although no winged hussar saddle yet but I am sure that can be customized (judging from kind of work the artist is doing.
I have been waiting for this kind of artisan saddlery work for long time.
The name of the saddle maker is Stanislaw Paszkiel and he lives along with his family and horses in  Gostków,  25-120 Bliżyn,  Swietokrzyskie Województwo( province)  in Poland.
This is the website showing photos and film of these various saddles, they do look very functional and 'pretty' -  saddles jazda-w-zabytkowym-siodle   .  Hopefully I can get more information on the Polish XVII century saddle replica, and some photos form this saddle maker.

And on ebay I found what it appears to be a historic original Ottoman Turkish saddle from XIX century - with plenty of great photos showing leather work, construction and degree of preservation of this very interesting equestrian object   OLD-ANTIQUE-OTTOMAN-TURKISH-HORSE-SADDLE .
This is an example of an old Ottoman Turkish saddle below with a description Antique 19th century Turkish Ottoman horseman saddle and stirrups .The saddle with wooden frame covered with leather and incorporating a pair of leather flaps on each side, the front and rear mounted in white metal frame and applied with plaques .retaining its original straps and stirrups. Condition: the saddle has sign of usage; the leather is dried up and with wear and same old repairs. Reference: A similar Ottoman saddles to this one are published in the Russian book "TURKISH ARMS” by E.G.Astvatsaturjan. Dimensions: length: 44cm (17 1/4 in), width: 32cm (12 5/8 in), height: 34,5cm (13 1/2 in).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Charles John ffoulkes works on

Again I would like to share with you a splendid page from the greatest free book depository, i.e.,   .

This time the books were written by one of the early British scholars on the arms and amour - Charles John ffoulkes - his bio   royalarmouries charles john ffoulkes .
We have four books worth perusing, full of period drawings, paintings, photos and actual museum objects:
1. The armourer and his craft from the XIth to the XVIth century (1912)  armourer his craft
2.Armour & weapons (1909) armour weapons
3. Inventory and survey of the armouries of the Tower of London (1916) vol 1 inventory survey Tower1
4.Inventory and survey of the armouries of the Tower of London (1916) vol 2 inventory survey tower2    
enjoy reading nad looking  :)

my own photo of the  XVI century horse armour from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Amazing and fearsome curb bit as a part of this horse armour!

horse images - reference for painting and drawing I

'old style' (Roman-nosed) American horse head photo reference...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

great Medieval and Renaissance arms and armor book in 5 volumes

Sunday is always a great day to visit a museum or library in NYC and we (my son and I ) are going to go to the New York research library on 42 street to read and photo some books there, especially Wawrzonkowska Z., Uzbrojenie i ubiór rycerski Piastów śląskich od XII do XIV w. Wawrzonkowska , to further my study regarding Polish Medieval arms and armor. 

   However, since electronic media and virtual libraries have sprung like 'mushrooms after a good rain' in the internet,  it is worthwhile to search for books at or google books.
While reading several articles and books on the Medieval and Renaissance arms and armor I came across this work of early scholar Guy Francis Laking guy francis laking  (note that I did not use wikipedia but unfortunately the entry in the wikipedia is not the best) and his opus magnum A Record of European Armour and Arms through Seven Centuries (1920).
The book is full of  interesting text and hundreds of great pictures of arms, armor, saddles, period miniatures and paintings, I have read certain parts thus far and it is one great, enjoyable resource on arms and armor. The horse oriented information is presented throughout the volumes, e.g. volume I chapter III has a short discussion on horse accouterments  in XII and XIII centuries, while volume IV, chapter XXII is dedicated to horse armor from XIV to XVII centuries,  saddles, spurs etc.

    Books can be downloaded here record of european 01 laking  (you can access all other volumes by clicking on sir Guy name etc),  many parts can be read in form of web pages in many places eg.  laking on bulfinch  and here laking index   .
Flamboyant Sir Guy also catalogued the  famous Wallace collection Catalogue of the European armour and arms in the Wallace Collection at Hertford House and this catalogue can be downladed from as well catalogue europe lakig .

Do enjoy your reading :)
the drawing above was done with a fine sketch Rotring Art Pen artpen and watercolor No.2 brush on hot pressed Arches watercolor paper and purports to show the famous 'anima' helmet (part of the complete suit of armor   wikipediacommons Zbroja_Batorego )  belonging to the  Polish_Lithuanian king Stefan (Stephen) Bathory king Stephen Bathory .
would like to welcome several new followers - bloggers in their own right 


Friday, May 21, 2010

Some English sources to the 'Time of Troubles' in Muscovite Russia

    I just came across the internet archive book (from University of Toronto collection) titled 'False Dimitri" that contains many interesting documents related to the English mercenaries' accounts of their experiences during the 'Times of Troubles' - (Wielka Smuta,  Смутное время ), including several English accounts of the battle of Klushino  Battle of Klushino - eg original letters from tzars,  Henry Brereton account originally published  circa 1614, story of tzar Dimitri, his murder etc.
Sonia E. Howe's book can be obtained here  Sonia Howe false dmitri   and it is free :).
pa ka

My friend Patryk 'Varaz' (wild boar of the Sassanians) Skupniewicz, already o scholar of the Sassanian arms and amour, will be starting his PhD program in UK coming Autumn 2010 - so we should expect some great work on the knightly riders of ancient Iran in the not so distant future - good luck Varaz !

Another of my friend, Radoslaw Sikora, a noted specialist on the history, organization, battles and tactics of the Polish winged hussars, has just received his PhD in history - congrats!

a a little sketch in 'progress' Gimp and Mypaint

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

XIII century Poland's Kinghts and their horses II

hello again,
perhaps I am rushing this theme a bit but I was perusing 'UZBROJENIE W POLSCE SREDNIOWIECZNEJ 1350-1450' (Arms and armour in Medieval Poland  1350-1450) editor Andrzej Nadolski, and there in an article by Zdzislawa Wawrzonkowska titled  'Rzad konski i oporzadzenie jezdzieckie' (horse tack and rider's equipment) in a footnote no.15 I found some interesting statement. Namely,  the author   (to her other work on the Silesian Piasts I shall return later) wrote that the earliest curb-bit depiction  in the Polish medieval  iconography is atributed to the AD 1247 seal of Piast prince Przemysl I of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland)   Przemysl I of GreaterPoland and that curb bit can only be vaguely classified due to the small and general depiction in said seal.
Well, I found this seal in the Internet  poczet przemysl I and here we go

XIII century Poland's Kinghts and their horses

Czolem amici et viajeros,
I have been reading some and then some more on the Medieval knights and their horses. I have not posted anything on that period save for a small post on Grunwald AD 1410 and Zawisza Czarny. This will change after the Summer as I am planing to do some reconstructive drawings of the Polish (Piast and Pomeranian/Kashebe) princes and knights of the XIII (13th) century, the century which I find the most intriguing in the Poland's medieval era.
There are some iconographic images form the period, i.e., XIII century or shortly thereafter, eg famous Maciejowski Bible medievaltymes maciejowski bible   wiki Maciejowski_Bible.
One of the most famous images is the German miniature painting of our Piast Silesian prince and almost a Polish king, Henryk (Henry) Probus, included in the so called Manesse Codex wiki Codex Manesse   Manesse Codex heidelberg , a compilation of amazing miniatures showing poet knights of the Central Europe, withing the milieu of the high knightly German culture that at this time permeated or shined into the lands to the east and north of Germany proper.
Henryk Probus Henry IV Probus in full glory as a younger man (there is also  his famous sepulchral effigy from and I will write about it.

Some of my favorites of the Poland's XIII century:  Swietopelk II of Pomerania  Swantopolk II

and Boleslaw Pobozny of Wielkopolska  Boleslaw the Pious
here in one of his seals, showing our prince  slaying a winged dragon or a serpent-like winged monster (perhaps  a monster of Swietopelk's Pomerania).
... and finally I am very proud to show my own  9 years old son's drawing of prince Henryk Probus, done two days ago (color pencils), based on the famous Manesse Codex miniature:

well, let this be  my introduction... of sorts.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Turkish horses of Cilicia Pedias (Cukurova Plain)

In the Polish and Muscovy XVI-XVII century sources the so called Turkish horses  were listed as the most splendid and notable steeds fit for the kings, magnates and noble ''rycerstwo'' (knights, chivalry, noblemen).

Being curious about the Ottoman Turkish horse origin, some time ago when I was at the McGill University Library special book collection, where one cannot use any writing tools but for their own short pencils,  I found a very interesting book.

Let's talk about the book first. At the library  I perused - in two days 1-2 hours each - this absolutely splendid and awfully overpriced book in two volumes (one text  and one fine photographs of some horse-related Islamic  artifacts) titled 'Furusiyya' -
There I found many articles written by noted scholars on the subject of the horsemanship and horse ridding related to the present Islamic land, no matter how deeply into the pre-Islamic history, e.g. Seleucid heavy cavalry.

One of the articles written by J.M. Rogers titled 'Ottoman Furusiyya' (pages 176-183 in the vol.1) deals with XV-XVIII (15-18th) century Ottoman Turkish horses and horsemanship.
Thus I copied some information on the Turkish horses from his article:
   Rogers states that the proper Turkish horses were bred in Cukurova Plain (southern fringes of the Taurus Mountains in the South-eastern Turkey or better put on the wikipedia ) first, and later on the rest of Anatolia became the breeding ground, while Epirus and Thesally, historic ancient Greece horse breeding grounds, continued to serve as such for the Ottomans overlords.  I can add my own thought here that this area was part of the medieval Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, divided into ''Cilician Trachea'' and ''Cilicia Pedias.'' Cilicia Pedias became the Ottoman tributary during  XV century  perhaps as a result of wars between the Ottomans and the Mamluk Egypt, and thus Cilicia would continue in a semi-autonomous existence until her annexation by the Turks circa 1515, thus it would  seem reasonable to think that Cilician Armenians were the actual breeders of the so called 'Turkish horse.'  In my opinion (absent from the said article by Rogers) this horse breeding area and its people also  seem  to fit  nicely with  the ancient horse-breading traditions of the Armenians under the Achaemenid Persian kings and before [Urartu], and their horses are shown on the Apadana Staircase in Persepolis, Iran (via Livius apadana armenian delegates   ). It also seems to me that great ancient traditions of the Iranian and Turkish peoples with Greek (Byzantine ) input produced this treat stead of the XV-XVII centuries.

Continuing with Rogers' article - other breeds: Arabian, Tatar and Hungarian were less numerous, but by 1650AD excessive demand for Turkish horses virtually exhausted the Anatolian breeding grounds and this led to actual replacement of the Turkish horse by the horses from the north of the Danube Basin (for the Ottoman military).
Rogers cites Busbecq ('Turkish Letters of Ogier P. de Busbecq,' 1554-62 AD)) and Marsigli ('Strato militare dell'Imporio Ottomano' Hague Amsterdam 1732 AD) as his best sources. Marsigli in his famous book stated that Turkomanian horses were very valued in the Ottoman Empire, and that the best war horses came from Hungarian, Transylvania, Polish and Moldavian stocks. Horses from Dobruja ( Dobruja   )  were esteemed as parade horses (due to their size, for they were tall). According to conclusions drawn by Rogers from his sources the Arabian horses were not used for war, as they could not withstand cold and damp conditions of Turkish northern campaigns, and also were difficult on the battlefield  because were extremely afraid of the gunfire.
 I could add that we known from the records that during the Vienna Campaign of 1683 AD victorious Polish commanders and noble cavalry 'towarzysze' (companions) captured some very fine Arabian horses [including mares] from the taken Turkish camp after the famous battle. Perhaps those were parade  favourites of the horse-loving Turkish commanders and warriors etc (similar to the way many men nowadays own luxury cars without really driving them daily).

Rogers also writes that Turkish horses were shod  with shoes that were continuous and solid (so no stumbling and damage to the frog etc). According to his sources Turkish horses were used up to 28-30 years of age, fed on hay and barley, while their straw bed was made from dried horse manure (similar to the Persian Turkoman traditions).

The rest of the article dealt mostly with the  different Ottoman warrior and soldier types eg voynuks , akinjis, sipahi etc,  the cavalry of the standing armies of the Ottoman state - Kapikulu  Corps (eg sipahi in reconstruction ) - and its  cavalry branch, subject that I will indulge more in the future. Also I will introduce the writings of a Polish and Ukrainian writer and ' un caballeros supremo' Michal Czaykowski (Sadyk Pasha aka  Mehmet Sadık Paşa Czaykowski biografia )  who while being a Turkish cavalry commander in the mid-XIX century wrote about the pitiful state of the regular Turkish cavalry of the late Ottoman period, but was extolling Balkan horses and Circassian and Turkoman horses...
pa ka

aha, I am working on this sketch of a saddled XVII century horse, it is not finished yet  ... GIMP and MyPaint :)

another Gallic horseman

I just 'cartoonized' another of my Gallic horsemen. Time frame is around  the Wars of the Second Triumvirate  ( 43 BC – 33 BC ), with the great battle of Philippi  as the largest land battle of the Second Triumvirate (eg the life of one of the principal actors -Brutus by Plutarch here Plutarch Brutus   ).  HBO series 'Rome' season 2 did attempt to show the battle, but it was not the greatest reconstruction I daresay.

Polish readers can find a nice book on the battle of Philippi authored by Maciej Milczanowski titled 'Filippi 23 X 42 p.n.e.'  published bye Wydawnictwo Inforteditions from Zabrze  in 2006.

English readers can read Osprey's book by Si Sheppard amply  titled 'Philippi - 42 BC' osprey Philippi-42-BC 
 Reviewed on by R. Forczyk  - the entire review here: Forczyk Philippi

The great podcast (actaully just one great history of Rome in lectures) on the subject is here:  historyofrome the-second-triumvirate

Monday, May 3, 2010

some idea

Tonight I will return to the idea included in  Messer Kadrinazi's  comment to my previous post :
"[...] in relation of English cavalrymen serving in one of 'British' company of reiters we  had information, that when those units were en route to de la Gardie's army [AD 1610] they'd defeated a contingent of 700 'Polanders', capturing 'sconce furnished vs not onely with great store of riches, but also with number of Polish Horses; and as many armes as sereud to arme fiue hundred men'. Maybe that could be idea for Your new drawing Dario ;) Scots or Englishemen on Polish horses, with some Western and some Eastern equippment :)"
well, some years ago I did draw a cavalryman of Western provenance mounted on an 'Eastern' horse et al, sort of a dragon officer in Polish serivce.  I manipulated this sketch with GIMP and MyPaint so it is quite different from the pen and ink original.

Although this image tends to show a later - mid 17th century - cavalier, I think it gives some idea about the cavalrymen from the  story told above.