Monday, October 30, 2017

Niezwykle bitwy i szarze husarii - nowa edycja 2017

Salvete omnes,
Wydawnictwo Erica opublikowało ostatnio nowa książkę Radosława Sikory, Niezwykle bitwy i szarże husarii,
 jest to rozszerzone wydanie edycji z 2011 roku, uzupełnione także bogatą szatą graficzną w postaci 14 reprodukcji obrazów pędzla maestro Mirka Szeiba i obrazów oraz czarno białych grafik Witalija Gorbenki.

autor samotrzeć na wycieczce  na Białorusi - Kościół farny w Nowogródku - nagrobek husarzy litewskich poległych pod Chocimiem 1621 @ Radosław Szleszynski
makieta starego miasta Mohylewa circa AD1655, muzeum w byłym ratuszu w Mohylewie, Białoruś, @ Radosław Szleszynski

spis treści

o Amor Patriae i o tym jak Polak ma być sam nieprzyjacielowi Ojczyzny płotem - z Obrazu Szlachcica polskiego AD 1615

Mocium panie, książka  grzechu warta, tam do czarta, 2 grzechów warta, mocium panie! (Zemsta, Akt IV, scena V)
zdjecia z ksiazki @ Instytut Wydawniczy Erica

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski album - 2017

lately I have acquired this new book-album on Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski and his art.
He was a Polish painter who worked and sold mostly in Munich, Bavarian Kingdom during the pre-World War I period (actually died in 1915). He was a painter of horses and wolves, and author of numerous genre paintings, who was staying away from historic and so called patriotic paintings popular amongst his many Polish colleagues during the Partitions period.

Eliza Ptaszynska, an art curator and researcher from Suwalki Museum in northeastern Poland who already  in 2011 wrote Wierusz-Kowalski's biography,  authored this album and it was published by Wydawnictwo Bosz. Nota bene Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski was a native of Suwalki, and the regional museum holds a large collection of his art, and the art of his son and granddaughter. After the II World War the Communists took away from the Kowalski family their estate at Mikorzyn, Greater Poland,

It contains many images of works in the Suwalki Museum collection as well as some privately own paintings and other museum collections.

 Apart from paintings, some reproduced in a very large size,  the album contains actual photos of the master painter, his sketches and other works related to maestro Alfred, including curious fans and palettes where many, then famous and prosperous, painters of many Munich ateliers would paint a little thumbsketch, sort of a signature of each painter and his favorite subjects.

Excellently printed and packaged (hardcover), bilingual (Polish and English), this is a  publication worthy any library.

 I am not sure what the current art market has to  say about this master painter.. perhaps you do?

ps I corralled a number of engravings by Wierusz-Kowalski published prior to 1915 or so, so perhaps in the near future I will share them with you.

Scythian saddle - articles

long time ago I put some information and drawings regarding the Scythian pad saddle.

Recently I have been studying articles by Elena V. Stepanova, one fine Russian scholar from Sankt-Peterburg (Saint Petersburg) Russia, where she is the Hermitage Museum curator and scholar.
The articles deal with the saddles that have survived in Pazyryk, Ukok Plateau of Altai Russia, kurhans (kurgans), and other archaeological sites in Central Asia with references to other sites of Eurasian steppe. One article deals with the reconstruction and usage of such pad saddle from the Altai's Pazyryk kurgans discovered long time ago by the Soviet archaeologists led by Rudenko - English translation calls it a soft saddle, but I think this is the wrong terminology... :)

 The articles are very, very interesting and informative,and practical too. For me it means I have got to rethink and redo some of my drawings and comments on the said Scythian saddles,
so you can download the English translation from the Silk Road Foundation , volume 14. - on the reconstruction of one of the  Pazyryk (Barrow nr. 3) saddles, preserved at the Hermitage, and some interesting observations on the Bosporan saddles as visible on that kingdom funerary artwork.

Qin/Chin Shi Huang Di terracotta army of China - cavalry mount wearing a very Scythian saddle, late 3rd c. BC

or you could read the articles from Ms Stepanova's page on Academia, or you could register there and then download these articles one by one.

Getae Thracians - warriors  riding using saddles similar to the Scythian ones in this Letnitsa, Bulgaria find from IVc BC - note that the Thracian horsemen were allies of the Philip IV of Macedon and Alexander III of Macedon and took part in the conquest of Achaemenid Empire

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Horse in the Americas - post AD 1492 - timeline

Salvete omnes,
part of my little research about the horse in the Americas during the Age of Conquest etc, I would like to introduce some date, although they may be subject to later corrections and or explanations.

I own some books on the horses of the America, and would love to read many more and own them too  - :) ; in this context prominently among my collections figure three books:
R.B. Cunninghame Graham, Horse of the Conquest (2004)
Deb Bennet, Conquerors, The Roots of New World Horsemanship (1998)
Robert M. Denhardt, The Horse of the Americas (1975)
Mr Denhardt, the Quarter Horse historian, provides in his book a short timeline for the horse appreance and/or establishment in the Spanish Main,Tierra Firme, and further south in the South America (including the Portuguese possessions).
So goes the list (all A.D. dates)a bit edited by my hand:
1493 - Española (little Spain) or Hispaniola (Caribbean island of Santo Domingo shared between San Domingo and Haiti)
1508 - Puerto Rico
1509-24 - Jamaica
1510 -14( Denhardt) - Vasco Nunez de Balboa beginning of conquest of Panama (Tierra Firme)
1511 - Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar beginning of conquest of Cuba
1519-1595 - Mexico
1530 - Brazil
1532 - Peru
1535 - Bolivia
1536-42 - Argentina, Southern Brazil & Paraguay
1538 - Venezuela, Colombia
1541- Chile
US side:
1521 - Ponce de Leon entrada - aborted - I am not sure if he landed his horses (got to read about this part)
1527 - Panfilo Narvaez entrada in Florida - mythical beginning of the horse in the US territories
1539-42  - Hernando de Soto entrada in Florida and the American South - mythical horse origin in Texas etc
1540-42 Coronado's 'entrada' in the Southwest US - another mythical date for the mustangs in the US
1598 -  Juan de Ońate entrada and conquest of New Mexico - beginning of the horse breeding in the continental US.

as time will show I hope to get into these dates as facts gathered from the primary/secondary sources will allow
meantime enjoy the Indian Summer


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Columbian exchange & horse in the Americas

well, from the northern Europe of the Bronze Age lets jump to Anno Domini 1492, as today is Columbus Day/Fiesta Nacional de Espana / el Dia de la Raza  etc,  thus  another anniversary of the beginning of our modern Americas.

Incidentally, on this day we, the horse people, celebrate or should celebrate the return of equus caballus to the Americas - obviously the date is general, as the horses did not arrive AD 1492, but begun arriving with the Colon's (Columbus) second voyage of conquest and settlement  and so on, in la Hispanola(1493), Cuba(1494) and later continuing onto the mainland with the entradas.
I want to signal the new thread in my blogging - that is the Age of La Conquista (Conquest), Colonial Spanish empire and the horse in the Americas.
Slowly, probably very slowly but surely, for I really enjoy studying this period of the horse history.

We are blessed with abundant primary sources for this period, and later secondary works, and nowadays in the Age of Internet many previously inaccessible article and books can be read directly in one's computer.
I hope to corral for us all some interesting equestrian histories and art, including some of my own., to begin with this thread, I would like to bring to your attention the person of a conquistador, cavalryman and later a lay priest Juan de Castellanos who wrote and later published his epic and very long poem - Elegias de varones ilustres de Indias,; in there de Castellanos put the following verses as allegedly spoken by some conquistador companions during la entrada of Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada and the conquest of Nueva Granada (Colombia), crude words spoken upon a desperate victory over some brave native warriors in or near the valley of Opon:
[fragment can be easily translated via google translate]
Tierra buena, tierra buena,
Tierra que hara fin a nuestra pena.
Tierra de oro, tierra bastecida
Tierra para hacer perpetua casa.
Tierra con abundacia de comida,
Tierra de grandes pueblos, tierra rasa,
Tierra donde se ve gente vestida
Tierra de bendicion, clara y serena,
Tierra que hara fin a nuestra pena.
[1857 edition, p. 309-10, can be read or downloaded from]
Monument to Pizarro and his horse in Lima, Peru
For the victorious Spanish conquistadors the conquered land would be the land of prosperity and wealth, and so would the Americas prove themselves to be the greatest land for the horses.
But first the horses would replenish and grow abundant in the Caribbean pastures, before really making for the continent with the conquistadors. we could say that the American horses were born in the Caribbean in the early XVI century.
I have been watching the Spanish Kingdom (Spain) troubled internal conflicts taking place in their autonomous regions, especially in Catalonia (but Pais Vasco is not far behind nor is Galicia etc).

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Salvete omnes,
the battlefield in the Tollense river valley in north-eastern Germany ( Polabian Pomerania or  the lands of the bellicose Polabian warriors) - middle to late Bronze Age. - amazing discovery of the oldest known European battlefield.
Speaking about the civilization perspective then it can be said that the battlefield comes from the period  after the end of the Unetice Culture (especially in Greater Poland & Silesia), the closure of the Tumulus Culture ,  the early Urnfield Culture, and the beginning of the Lusatian Culture in Central Europe, while in the south there took place the Trojan War and the Sea People invasions, and the subsequent collapse of the Bronze Age great civilizations of Greece and Anatolia, hence roughly from the XIII century B.C.. Also, interesting aspect of this time period and archeological perspective is the existence of the tin, copper and especially  the amber trade (the Amber Road - good map here) between the Mediterranean civilizations and the south shores of the Baltic Sea, that had been developed during the Unetice Culture and would last until the Middle Ages.
The Trojan-Baltic angle has been explored as a hypothesis by Felice Vinci in his book The Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales. ( eg . audio recording of a discussion Felice Vinci & William Mullen here)

some English language articles:
Slaughter at the bridge: Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle - Andrew Curry, Science Magazine. - there is a very odd 'reconstruction' of the 3 warriors in this article.
 A Bronze Age battlefield? Weapons and trauma in the Tollense Valley, north-eastern Germany by Thomas Terberger et al. - from academia. (also here)
Bronze Age tin rings from the Tollense valley in northeastern Germany by Oliver Mecking et al. - from academia.

 Blog article including an interesting and quite animated discussion - Old European Culture blog.
Even this article from Deutsche Welle (in English).
A German documentary  Schatzsucher in Mecklenburg Vorpommern - there is footage from the actual excavations.
audio - an interview with Andrew Curry, Science Magazine.
 Also, in Warfare in Northern Europe Before the Romans: Evidence from Archaeology by Julie Rosemary Wileman there is a chapter on the warfare in the Middle to Late Bronze Age in Northern Europe.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Landscape with Tournament and Hunters - Jan van Scorel

Salvete Omnes,
 again we shall stay for a bit in the Age of Renaissance, although what it truly means nowadays or whether there was any renaissance in the late medieval & early modern Christian Europe I have been having second and third thoughts for years.
Ad rem,  the XVI century artists left us with a plethora of horse-related images, and one of the images I would like to point your attention to is this lovely large piece by a Romanist Dutch painter Jan van Scorel who painted his large panel using oils, and the artwork can been presently located at the collection of the Chicago Art Institute.
The painting, aside from the its high artistic value and most likely fantasy, imaginary landscape,  contains lots of interesting historic information on the north-western European costume, horses, horse tack and customs.
Horses appear to have been schooled in airs, ridden with curb-bits, long reins and long stirrups. There are no particular colors within the horses shown, and no horse appears to be of a Frisian conformation.. at least the way I see it.

the work is dated to AD 1519-20 (Reformation is being born within the Holy Roman Empire), which was the era of developing gunpowder arms,  landsknecht and arquebus infantry, but also the era of flamboyant tournaments, parades and schooling of horses according to written manuals and master ecuyers instructions.
So here we have a town's fair perhaps saint George or saint Hubert (patron of chase & hunters), with a tournament taking place and town populace present in their finery.
lancers in tournament armor  on fine caparisoned horses, with attendants in their finery typical costumes of the Northern and Central Europe of these times

mounted musicians
on the right there is a horseman moving away from the tournament with his sweetheart riding behind his saddle seated on the rump of his mount, image that would be shown often in the Dutch art in the coming centuries

in the foreground town ladies in their fashionable costume next to some lowly horsemen

hunting activity contained in the title of this piece, and its apparently hunting the wild boar on horseback with a short heavy spear (boar spear?) and sight hounds, is given  just a glimpse and very little detail, sort of a view through a looking glass.