Monday, February 21, 2011

Ottoman Turkish Spahis - German woodcut of XVI century

Scouting the net and libraries I found this little woodcut done sometimes during the second half of XVI century, showing the Ottoman Spahis aka Sipahi mounted on a caparisoned steed and a priest (imam) on a mule. There are quite a few images of religious men riding mules as they were much more seemly mounts for the clergy, I suppose.

   Our knight is rather dressed for outing on the caravan trail and not expressly for war - notwithstanding his bow and arrows, his noble and ancestral steppe prerogative - and he might be mounted on his parade gelding or stallion (being an owner of an estate he owned a few good gelding and stallions, fillies, colts, mules, donkeys and broodmares), bitted with a long-shanked curb-bit and a tide-down or martingale (but curiously on bridle without a noseband - an error of the printmaker?).

   I daresay this splendid little beauty is a pacing horse and might be  actually doing a Turkish version of a Spanish walk.

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