Friday, July 29, 2011

Mongolian Tatar after M.V. Gorelik and Chinese Medieval art

finally I am going to start ''touching'' the subject of the greatest son of the Eurasian steppe and his Altaic people  - Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan).
Allow me to start with a sketch in progress of a Tatar (Mongolian tribe, enemies of Chinggis Khan) bodyguard, done after Russian scientist and artist M.V. Gorelik's reconstruction, based on the Chinese drawings from XIII-XV centuries, Note his mace is not finished, just a head of it there.

Next drawing in this theme should be of a horseman and horse tack... fingers crossed

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crimean Tatars sketches

some sketches in working of the Crimean Tatars - my wife descends from them on her father side, being a descendant of the old Eliszewicz Lithuanian Tatar family, thus most likely related to the Chinggis (Ghengis) Khan, the wolf- tiger-eagle of the Eurasian steppe.




Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crimean Tatars, Poles and Hungarians - 1680s woodcuts

today( after a two day discussion on a Polish history forum  on Crimean Tatars during the XVI-VII Historycy tatarzy  ) , I went into google books and I found a nice German woodcut, I think,  showing a Crimean (Perkop) Tatar couple or les petites Tartares de Krim from a XVII century  - the source is this book: ''Description de l'Univers contenant les differents systèmes du monde , les cartes generales et particulieres de la geographie anciennee et moderne...'' vol. 4 ( published 1686).

Interesting comment about the horses:
lls sont belliqueux & fort adroits à cheval : Leurs Chevaux sont infatigables , & propres aux longues irruptions de ces Coureurs, qui ne cherchent que la guerre..
Turkish warriors and soldiers:

Nice woodcuts of Polish king Jan III Sobieski and Polish noble couple


 A Muscovite noble couple:

and finally two noble Hungarians in their fine costumes


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ancient Macedonians - sketches

I would like to share with you two sketches related to the Macedonian history and horse culture of IV century B.C.

The very symbol of that culture is Alexander the Great,  the conqueror of Greece, Achaemenid Persian Empire (a film link), Illyrians and Thracians.
 Here you can read the story of Alexander written by Plutarch, one of the four most important ancient  writers writing on young basileos* (king) life, Q. Curtius Rufus and L. Flavius Arrianus and Diodorus Siculus
 Alexander was one 'hell of a rider' and a warrior without equals during his lifetime or ever, and he is often portrayed on horseback, the most famous is  this one, from Alexander Mosaic:

His most famous horse, Bucephalus, (for he had many more) is subject of many legends and stories , including a very nice book for children written by a Polish historian professor Anna Swiderkówna titled ''Koń, który trafił do historii'' (''Horse that landed in history books'').

* The second image has been inspired by a photo and description of an ancient stele showing a Macedonian horseman I saw in an article written by professor Nicolas Sekunda on the Ptolemaic guardsmen - Dress of the Ptolemaic Guard Cavalry. By the way,  I have  many books by professor Sekunda and they will come 'handy here,' as well as a book by professor Marek Olbrycht on Alexander and Iranian world, and I shall make use of them when talking and drawing more Macedonians, Greeks, and Iranians.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Some newer sketches

it is a lazy summer, with the skies full of amazing clouds and violent rainstorms..
I have been working on my 'problem horse'  - yesterday we did 2 hours of bareback pad (with a inch thick fleece saddle bad underneath - got it from ) training in the arena (using only a bosal) and on the prairie, and since she is a bony back owner, (but high withers)therefore my own backside is a bit sore :).. (no one to take pictures of us :( ) Now I know what Xenophon was talking about when he  advocated using this horse  ''[ ...]The point of the shoulder being high renders the seat of the rider more secure, and makes the shoulder appear more firmly attached to the body. A double spine is both much softer to sit upon, and more pleasing to the eye, than a single one.''
However, curious to experiment I was working on the ancient way of riding, with lower legs far back on her belly and upper body a bit leaning forward when cantering or galloping... it is very educational. But I must stress the fact here that  all these ancient Scythian, Saka, Assyrian, Mede, Persian, Greek, Iberian, early Celtic etc riders must have been amazing horsemen.
Ad rem,  I would like tot share with you some sketches

Ciao, rebiata :)

welcome new members to this blog's family of followers...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jan III Sobieski on horseback

king Jan III Sobieski is one of my personal heroes, between his achievements as a king, statesman, commander, family man, famous lover of women and excellent writer (letters to his beloved wife Marie ). I must add he was also our most Oriental monarch, embodiment of the Sarmatism, excellent administrator, horse owner and breeder, fine horseman and warrior (started his military career with the battle of Zborow, he was at Beresteczko of 1651 where he was seriously wounded, and perhaps because ofthat wound he escaped the fate of his  brother Marek murdered at Batoh a year later, nota bene  Beresteczko- in Polish: interesting discussion here and current state of the battlefield in this article).
Here are some horseback portrayals  of our famous king, victor of many battles, unfortunately he had to fight the Ottoman Turks (spoke Turkish) and Crimean Tatars (he spoke their language too), while he wanted and should have fought the Prussians, Russia and the Hapsburg Austria. One image shows the king at his triumph at Chocim - this is my bit longer entry on that painting and the battle.
I have plans to draw some images involving the king :) , God willing
Kossaks' paintings of Sobieski Vienna 1683  Before battle  Entry into Vienna Sobieski's Hussaria Vienna 1683

Polish-Lithuanian towarzysz 1740s

Polish-Lithuanian army of first half of XVIII century (time of the Saxon kings, or the so called ''Czasy Saskie'' - Saxon times) is not very well know to the general public, especially the national cavalry, due to various reasons - this blog deals, amongst other things, a bit with the Polish-Lithuanian and Saxon armies of the period, eg polish-lithuanian-army-in-1756-report  Here a discussion in Polish on hussaria history during XVIII century 
am sketching - in MyPaint and Gimp - a Polish-Lithuanian 'towarzysz' (comrade) cavalryman* from 1740s. According to mosci Bronislaw Gembarzewski this image comes from a tabacco box now in the National Museum in Warsaw. He wears a short ''kontusz'' over a ''żupan,'' Turkish style szarawary (shalwar) pants..

Polish-Lithuanian national cavalry or kontuszowa as they were called, used a variety of colorful garments during this period, and eventually the combination of kontusz and żupan with loose fighting pants would give rise to a national uniform during the second half of XVIII century. In these posts - uhlan  & Warnery uhlan I talked a bit about the horses, saddles and cavalrymen of this period.
And here a research article on the Polish-Lithuanian Tatar 'chorągwie' lent into the Saxon service during 1733-64
It should be noted that the article on the Saxon uhlans is but a sketch on the history of Polish-Lithuanian cavalry in Saxon service, and as such is incomplete, offers incorrect names of the commanders and regiments, and does not use any Polish sources, therefore should be treated lightly . Comprehensive article on the Saxon cavalry circa 1745 here (in German) Sachischen kavallerie
*Please note that this is only a sketcg - eg reins and stirrups missing, and obviously it needs more work...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


last four weeks I have been learning to work with a problem horse - namely barn sour mare of some 10 years of age, that did not want to leave her barn, saddle up, bucked when rider sat on her back, broke from walk  into pell-mell gallop when ridden, and showed other signs of aggression. This has been a very rewarding experience for me. The picture above shows here - Kiowa - at the second week of round pen training (at Fair View Farm). ( I have some interesting observations regarding the use of the famous buńczuk (horse hair tug) used by the Turkish people - and after them by the Tatars, Hungarians, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth riders, and yes,  American Indians of the Great Plains- after this experience that I will share with you in the future)
Upon doing plenty of reading prior to the training and talking to people I decided to use a rope halter for groundwork and then traditional hackamore (rawhide bosal, mecate-horsehair- reins etc) fro riding. This picture shows her on the 1st day I put the hackamore on her, and ever since we have been switching between hackamore and rope halter when ridding using a standard A-fork western saddle - done 8 one-hour rides, plenty of bareback, and many, many hours of ground work and just simple walking the prairie with a leadrope, while plentiful black-tail prairie dogs, occasional coyotes, pronghorns, ubiquitous cottontails and ground squirrels, and funny jack-rabbits run and falcons and hawks fly above.  No bit - snaffle & curbit nor mechanical hackmore has been used this far..

Some example of reading I have been doing:
Ed Connell's Reinsman of the West-Bridles and Bits
Marty Marten Problem-Solving
Pat Parelli, Natural Horsemanship
Ray Hunt, Think Harmony with Horses
Bill Dorrance, True  Horsemanship through Feel
 and some others, including the videos available via youtube etc

In between I have got myself a nicely preserved US cavalry  11 1/2 '' seat McClellan saddle from 1904, we had to rebuilt the straps (done by fine artist and master leather maker Mort Fadum from Latigo tack shop in  Elbert, Colorado) 
Also we bought this nice 1900-20 saddle by Frasier Co from Pueblo, Colorado -
Interesting horsemanship website for Polish speakers: mosci Mickunas

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hungarian Hussars of king Charles I of Spain

 my dear friend and researcher Samuel  provided me with this fine primary document where Hungarian hussars in king Carlos I (emperor Charles V) service are described by Luis de Ávila y Zúñiga .

La gente de caballo que vino con el Rey [...]  trajo el Rey novecientos caballos húngaros, que a mi juicio son de los mejores caballos del mundo, y así lo mostraron en la guerra de Sajonia en el año 46, y agora en esta del 47. Las armas que traen son lanzas largas, huecas y gruesas, y dan grande encuentro con ellas; traen escudos o tablachinas hechos de manera, que abajo son anchos, y así lo son hasta el medio, y del medio arriba por la parte de delante vienen enangostándose hasta que acaban en una punta, que les sube por la cabeza; son acombados como paveses; algunos traen jacos de malla. En estas tablachinas pintan y ponen divisas a su modo, que parecen harto bien; traen cimitarras y estoques juntamente muchos dellos, y unos martillos en unas astas largas, de que se ayudan muy bien. Muestran grande amistad a los españoles, porque, como ellos dicen, los unos y los otros bien de los scitas. [..]. Hussars

This may be first translation of this part of Avila text into English, but then it may be just my first  one, and there are others who translated this text into English, I do not not know:
 [...] the King brought 900 Hungarian horses, that in my judgment they are the best horses(horsemen) in the world, and in such manner they proved themselves in the Saxon war of '46 and now in this one of '47 (Schmalkaldic War). The weapons they carry are the following ones: long lances, hollow and thick, and they give big blow (give a large meeting) with them.  They carry shields or bucklers made in this manner, that are wide at the bottom, and in that manner they are until the middle, from the middle up on the external part they become narrower until they end in a point, that passes above the head; the shields are rounded inside like the pavises; some carry coats of mail. These shields they paint and put/attach symbols on them in their own manner,  and they seem really good. Many of them carry sabres and estoques/tucks (koncerze)  together, and some war hammers with a long handle, and that they made great use of those (warhammers). They show great friendship towards the Spanish, because, as they say, the Hungarians and Spanish come from the Scythians.
Polskie tlumaczenie (bez znakow):
[...]Krol przywiodl ze soba 900 koni Wegrow, ktorzy w moim osadzeniu sa najlepsza jazda na swiecie, i  to dowiedli w wojnie saksonskiej w roku 1547, i teraz w tejze roku 1547. Bron ktora uzywaja to sa dlugie kopie, puste(drazone) i grube, i z tymi zadaja ciezkie razy/ciosy [wielkie spotkanie]; niosa ze soba tarcze albo 'pawezki' zrobione w sposob taki, ze u dolu sa szerokie i w ten sposob sa takie do polowy, od polowy ku gorze w czesci zewnetrzenej staja sie coraz wezsze az koncza sie szpicem,i ta czesc im przechodzi przy glowie, [tarcze] sa zaokraglone niczym paweze; niektorzy maja jaki (koszule ) kolcze. Na tych tarczach maluja i przyczepiaja symbole wedlug ich  stylu, ktore wydaja sie dosyc dobre [dobrze wykonane?]; wielu z nich uzywa  razem  szbale i koncerze , a takze niektorzy nadziaki o dlugim drzewcu, ktorymi sie wspomagaja bardzo grzecznie. Pokazuja wielka przjazn ku Hiszpanom, dlatego ze, jak to oni mawiaja, Wegrzy i Hiszpanie pochodza od Scytow[...]"
a quick sketch of a Hungarian hussar, ...lots of work to do yet...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More images from L'Art de la Cavalerie by de Saunier

some more fine images from de Saunier's book, ranging from horse gaits to movement while riding





Enjoy :)
ps and here a link to another book on horses (A horse anatomy, their good and bad qualities, sicknesses and remedies for them) by de Saunier, although he seems to be a coauthor with his father Jean (1734) La parfaite connoissance des chevaux, leur anatomie, leurs bonnes et mauvaises qualitez, leurs maladies & les remèdes qui y conviennent

Gaspard de Saunier - l'ecuyer and author of L'Art de la cavalerie

I have been perusing the google books search for the XIX century and earlier books and voila! old book on the art of horsemanship is available for reading and download (at least in US & Canada).
The author of this XVIII century 'hornbook' for riders is Monsieur Gaspar de Saunier (1663-1748), one of the many master of equitation that France produced during XVI-XX centuries. He was a soldiers, horse stud manager, master horseman (ecuyer) and a gentleman - having to defend his honor in a duel killing the opponent, emigrant in Netherlands, and horse school master .
His book -  L'Art de la cavalerie was not translated into English, hence he is not as popular as François Robichon de La Guérinière, le petit ecuyer of l'ecole de Tuileries (the 1st or le grand ecuyer of France was prince Charles de Lorraine, comte d’Armagnac), whose fabulous book 'École de cavalerie' was  beautifully illustrated by French court painter Parrocel. Both authors' works became some of the  most important 'ecole de manege' treatises until mid XIX century when another Frenchman's book appeared.
There are some English sites that talk a bit about de Saunier eg voltes quotes of de Saunier  this is very interesting site of Thomas Ritter, a quote from the site ''His seat closely resembles De La Guérinière's. He was familiar with the shoulder-in, the invention of which is usually attributed to De La Guérinière or to his teacher, M. de Vendeuil, who had the same teachers as Gaspard de Saunier'')
a blog by mr Ritter ,
Some engravings from his book(I am not sure who the artist was, but the top image shows that while already in XVIII century the French riding masters did not abandon a lance when training in the manege), and I must add that I myself appreciate them a lot, since I have been training myself and a barn-sour mare for last 4 weeks, from the ground work up to the hackamore and sitrrupless riding, and these images of riders show some hearty and telling suggestions. we have two images of cavesson (kawecan in Polish) amongst tje samples of various parts of snaffle, curbbit etc we have curbbits, a bridle with reins and manner of holding them, a whip (in old good steppe fashion) etc

3. various curb bit shanks



6. the last description states - A posture of a cavalier who begins his learning and who is without spurs and stirrups.
Here are some French cavalry images of the period:

I hope to read this book with a strong help from my dictionaries :)