Tuesday, August 15, 2017

'Miracle' on the Vistula River & Polish Army Day


Salve,
today in Polish Republic or Rzeczpospolita Polska they celebrate the Polish Army Day, including the military parade in Warsaw. also, this the Feast of Assumption - Hail Mary, Queen of Poland!
The date commemorates the victory secured by the Polish armed forces over the invading Communist Russian Red Army 13th-25th August, 1920. So called Mircale on the Vistula or the battle of Warsaw along with the defeat of the Budyonny's Horsearmy at Komarów  and the battle of Niemen River

constitute the triple victories that led to the establishment of the post-Versailles borders for the newly independent Poland.
I must stress that thanks to the work by the Polish politicians like Roman Dmowski and Wincenty Witos and countless others the most numerous group of the Polish society, the peasants, joined en masse the Polish armed forces and thus won Poland's independence. They say the peasants feed you and defend you. 
 Some photos from the battle of Warsaw
order nr. 71 by general Rozwadowski



general Haller and Jozef Pilsudski

captured Red Army standards


Vivat Polonia, vivat milites Poloni! - including Polish-Americans, Polish-French and Polish-Brazilians - the Blue Army!
...but also vivat Poland's Ukrainian & Belorussian brethren, as the officers and soldiers from these two nations fought on the side of Polish soldiers in the war! Also I salute the White Russians  and the Cossacks from Don and other hosts who fought as allies for humanity during the 1920.
Vivat 'foreign volunteer' soldiers - especially from France, including future President Charles de Gaulle , but perhaps more important was the military material aid received by Poland that arrived from France along with the Blue Army. Here should mention the Hungary sent munitions in the most critical time to Poland ( eg about 80 rail freight-carts arrived at the Skierniewice train station full of ammunition from Manfred Weiss factory in Hungary on August 12, 1920). Romania also lent Poland a helping hand in this war, allowing war material trains from Hungary to pass on their way to Poland. Unfortunately, newly established Czechoslovakia was Poland's most active enemy, including armed annexation of the Polish Cieszyn Śląsk.

the pilots (7th Air Escadrille) from the United States under Merian C. Cooper

(later producer of King Kong).

And Duma Rycerska - my favorite soldier song from the XVI century, performed by prof. Jacek Kowalski - by pan Adam z Czahrowa Czahrowski poet and  a winged hussar.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hunting bison - bison jump

Salve,
we are going to return to the bison hunting in North America.
The story of Lewis and Clark Expedition provides the reader with many glimpses into the life of the Great Plains peoples, including the hunting methods and customs.
Today I would like to point you to the part where they describe the method of killing bison by stampeding them down a cliff - or so called bison jump - famous Head-Smashed-In Buffalo site in Alberta, Canada, and many others in the US. The method, if successful resulted in huge number of killed animals and many wounded and led to the extermination of the entire stampeded herd. In the days before the coming of the horse this was probably the most common technique used to secure large kills, perhaps the summer-autumn hunts when bison was in its peak condition.
In his paintings Alfred Jacob Miller gives us examples of this hunting technique - one here, and one below. He, however, left no written description of such event, only painting the scenes.
Interestingly the hunters are mounted in his works, whereas in the Lewis & Clark description the horses are not mentioned at all. It does not appear from the description that the expedition members witnessed such hunt themselves.


Lewis & Clark
chapter - UP THE MISSOURI
[p307-308] Near this spot are a few trees of the ash, the first we have seen for a great distance, and from which we named the place Ash Rapids [Drowned Man’s rapids]*. On these hills there is but little timber, but the salts, coal, and other mineral appearances continue.
On the north we passed a precipice about one hundred and twenty feet high, under which lay scattered the fragments of at least one hundred carcases of buffaloes, although the water which had washed away the lower part of the hill must have carried off many of the dead. These buffaloes had been chased down the precipice in a way very common on the Missouri, and by which vast herds are destroyed in a moment. 
The mode of hunting is to select one of the most active and fleet young men, who is disguised by a buffalo skin round his body; the skin of the head with the ears and horns fastened on his own head in such a way as to deceive the buffalo; thus dressed, he fixes himself at a convenient distance between a herd of buffalo and any of the river precipices, which sometimes extend for some miles.
His companions in the meantime get in the rear and side of the herd, and at a given signal show themselves, and advance towards the buffalo; they instantly take the alarm, and finding the hunters beside them, they run towards the disguised Indian or decoy, who leads them on at full speed towards the river, when suddenly securing himself in some crevice of the cliff which he had previously fixed on, the herd is left on the brink of the precipice; it is then in vain for the foremost to retreat or even to stop; they are pressed on by the hindmost rank, who, seeing no danger but from the hunters, goad on those before them till the whole are precipitated and the shore is strewed with their dead bodies. 

Sometimes in this perilous seduction the Indian is himself either trodden underfoot by the rapid movements of the buffalo, or missing his footing in the cliff is urged down the precipice by the falling herd. The Indians then select as much meat as they wish, and the rest is abandoned to the wolves, and creates a most dreadful stench.

The wolves who had been feasting on these car- cases were very fat, and so gentle that one of them was killed with a spontoon.


*originally the place was called Rapids of the Drowned by the French-Canadian voyageurs but when translated into English, it erroneously became Drowned Man’s Rapids, despite numerous deaths, L. Wischmann, Frontier Diplomat, Alexander Culbertson and Natoyist-Siksina’ among the Blacfeet, p 71

enjoy

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Roman white teeth & Johnny Shumate work

Salvete omnes,
a Canicula post - :)
I admire the historic illustrations by Johnny Shumate - his blog here.
looking yesterday at the one of his newest creations titled Caesar's Centurions I recalled some of my reading about  the Roman daily life, including their health and hygiene, and wondered whether their teeth were really white as seen in many modern illustrations.
I rememberer when reading about Rome that the Romans cleaned their teeth daily, and  at the same time remembered the Egyptian mummies (of the elite Egyptians one must add) and their rather decayed teeth and gums. Images of the skulls with the worn and decayed teeth figure prominently in my mind - scholarly article on the state of ancient Egyptian dental health here. In both civilizations they ate grains, bread and cakes, and used millstone to grind their grains into flour. - an article about Roman milling (part of a large project exploring Roman food etc).
  Thus we know, from the historical sources etc, that the ancient Romans, heavy bread eaters, cleaned their teeth  and in order to do so they used urine. They did is so well that the Roman period jaws and teeth found in the excavated graves show only 5% of periodontitis while modern UK population sports up to 30% and the US population up to 38.8%.
Moreover they did not fluoridate the water, did not floss and did not brush their teeth at all. They used chewing sticks of various trees and also toothpicks and rags to clean the teeth.
They cleaned their teeth with urine passed in the morning, the wealthy women were said to import special urine from what is today Portugal and so on - more about their dental practices in this article, actually that webpage  contains plethora of information on the ancient Roman daily life and more(another article here).

Finally, in addition please find attached one of my Roman horses, a sketch I played around reworking some old pen and ink plus watercolor sketch
there is a new book by dr. Rafaelle D'Amato on the army of  the Roman Eastern Provinces  - :)
enjoy
ps
you could look at and enjoy the wonderful brushwork by Sabine Ott - Sabine paints Akhal-Tekes.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ujscie - the Deluge - 25th July 1655

Salvete omnes,
the good month of July is flying fast towards its end, and since we are in the high summer time perhaps all things should have been taken easy, but it appears that presently this July is not the easiest time in Poland, where there have been conflicts, protests and calls for government to step down (by the EU-backed opposition) amid the most various and sensible calls for reforms and reinvention of the Polish state under the current duly elected government etc.

It all reminds me a bit of the situation within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the beginning of the Deluge or the Swedish invasion of Poland in the summer of AD 1655 and the battle of Ujście.

I am gathering material to write a little article about the military aspects of the Ujście debacle, where our Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) province pospolite ruszenie ( national noble levy, Noble host, noble militia etc) met the invading Swedish army (in reality a brand new army  consisting of mostly German infantry, cavalry and artillery companies under the Swedish officers and leadership) and upon the conclusion of this 'meeting' the extraordinary sorrows and calamities of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth  commenced.

a print based on the drawing by Erik Dahlberg, Swedish officer during the war
I asked two independent historians Witold Biernacki and Michał Paradowski known for his blog under the title & nom de guerre Kadrinazi for help in gathering the historical source materials and consequently I have been receiving some  fantastic, to borrow the favorite word of the current US President, material  from these two researchers.

In case you have not heard they collaborated on the Deluge  period battle in the following article:  Bitwa pod Nowym Dworem 30 września 1655 roku, written for De Re Miltiari, rather recently launched Polish-language military history magazine, and it was published in 2016, number III-1
enjoy your summer

Friday, July 28, 2017

Roßfechten - new video from Arne Koets et Calijn

Salvete omnes,
a quick and short one this morning -
Ecuyer and reenactor Arne Koets and his sparring partner Calijn recorded their Rossfechten/ Roßfechten or mounted fencing ( with swords)  on Arne's horses - Andalusian gelding and Lusitano stallion -  Video.
This is one great video - with Arne explaining the action taking place on the screen.
Congrats to both reenactors and their equine partners.
a still from the video

Also, a video from Schola  Gladiatoria titled 'Objectives in martial arts sparring and real combat' -
Do visit ARMA and the wiki library - Wiktenauer- of the Historical European Martial Arts  for the wealth of information contained therein.
 
enjoy - :)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Kon polski - Lyszkowski

Salve,
in Polish]
okres zaborów kiedy to Rzeczpospolita Polska była podzielona miedzy 3 zaborców, z których jeden miał de jure niejakie prawa do tronu Królestwa Polskiego (Rosja), obfitowała w literaturę specjalistyczna, w tym literaturę weterynaryjna i hodowlana.
Przykładem powinna być praca ziemianina i publicysty z zaboru austryjackiego który osiadł był w Warszawie około 1832 roku i tamże wydal swoje prace o hodowli i leczeniu zwierząt hodowlanych, w tym koni, pisząc o roli ras i uwaga, o rasie konia polskiego, jako o koniu wtedy wciąż istniejącym w hodowli ziemiańskiej - swoja droga jaką rolę odniosła stadnina carska w Janowie Podlaskim (nie była założona dla koni arabskich ), gdzie od początku hodowano konie angielskie napiszę kiedy indziej.

 Ergo, Stanisław Łyszkowski, Poradnik hodowli i weterynarii dla ziemianina et al.,  Tomy 1 & 2 w jednym) napisał był circa AD 1839 na stronie 105 tomu Iego:


Tablica I atlasu wyobraża siedmioletniego konia, naszej polskiej rasy, która chociaż może przez mięszanie i dobór innych obcych ras z pierwotną oryginalną, uległa niejakiej odmianie; wszelako znajdują się jeszcze w niej po największej części cechy jej pierwotnej rodowitości. 

Budowa konia polskiego była zawsze dosyć kształtna, silna, dziarska; głowa dobrze do szyi zastosowana; takież uszy pięknie oprawione, sanki tylko czyli boki (Ganasze) szczęk miewa zwykle nieco zbyt szerokie, kark i szyja mierna i giętka; piersi zaokrąglone dosyć szerokie; grzbiet prosty, krzyż grubo płaski, piękny niespadzisty, ogon dobrze osadzony; ustawa nóg mocna i sprężysta, kopyto niezbyt małe i twarde; 
nakoniec konie polskie łączyły zawsze z dzielnością, smiałością i nadzwyczajną wytrwałością tak w boju, jak i w innych przedsięwzięciach i trudach, wielką pojętność, łagodność i wierność ku swym panom. 
A pomimo skażenia po części naszych polskich ras przez niestosowny chów i mięszanie z obcemi, jako też przez zły ich dozór i zaniedbanie, łatwoby jednak do swej pierwotnej czystości i dobroci przywrócić je można przy starannym ich pielęgnowaniu, gdyż rasa ta na zimno i inne niedogodności jest wytrwalszą i wychowanie jej od źrzebięcia mniej od wszystkich innych ras potrzebuje zachodu i staranności.”
...
Ciekawostką są dane wydawnicze  zaczerpnięte ze strony tytułowej tej wielkiej pracy - wydana w Warszawie, nakładem Gustawa Sennewalda przy Ulicy Miodowej 486, w drukarni Maxymiliana Chmielewskiego. 1839.
[finis]
żal tylko, ze pragnienia mości Łyszkowskiego względem konia polskiego w hodowli spełzły na niczym i koń polski jako rasa rodzima konia szlachetnego wymarł był w XIX wieku (chyba że koń Arab polski i koń małopolski to są dwie rasy potomne konia polskiego z XIX wieku? ), pod naporem koni angielskich i arabskich.
Trend ten wydaje się być kontynuowany dzisiaj w Rzplitej, gdzie konie niemieckie i holenderskie etc oraz poprawiane nimi konie wielkopolskie wypierają konie małopolskie prawie że całkowicie ze sportu i rekreacji.
Można się cieszyć bo wydaje się, że konie śląskie (ok, mam sentyment to Śląska) jakby wracają w liczbie, a są one szczególnie przydatne w rekonstrukcji rycerskich pocztów  i XVI-XVII wiecznej jeździe,  jak i w rekreacji (pod wierzch czy zaprzęg).
ps
przypomnę może wypis mości pana Jacka, hodowcy Achał-Tekińców którego darzę wielka estymą mimo różnic w poglądach, o husarii et jej koniach.
Starszawa już dyskusja o koniu polskim na portalu historycy.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Yekaterina II as equestrienne

Salvete omnes,
Canicula is upon us, so we should take a trip to the XVIII century and see some paintings of the Imperial Russia, namely the images of Yekaterina II or Catherine II (the Great), who being a nice Anhalt princess ended up as one the greatest Russian monarchs of all times.

True, she is not the most favorite with our Polish national tradition, being in effect one of three 'partitioners' - Russian Empire, Austria Hapsburg Empire, Prussia - of the Polish State, but upon the Polish Partitions she had become de jure the Polish peoples' ruler too.







and the last painting by Jan Bogumił Plersz from circa 1787 showing the ending of a conference at Kaniów on the Dniepr River (Dnieper) then in the Polish Kingdom, between Yekaterina and her one-time paramour, our Polish ruler, his majesty king Stanisław August (pretty much bovine in his approach to politics - his coat of arms was Ciołek), who was rather flippant and always in need of funding which he spent on art and sumptuous living, generating vast debts, thus he was constantly on Yekaterina's  pay roll and always asking her for money. His reign started with his election fully forced by the Russian arms (there is a book coming about the war of 1764 election), then continued with the first national uprising known as the  Bar Confederation, 1768-72) that also sought to dethrone  him but eventually ended up in a exhausting defeat by Russian armies, and in turn this complete subjugation of the Polish state lead to the First Partition of Poland. Nota bene this act was proposed by the Prussian monarch who at that time was a rather sly thief( why a thief, well amongst others  he debased Polish gold coins stealing gold etc), known as Frederic II the Great.
Twenty years later King Poniatowski led his kingdom into a war with Russia over the May Constitution in 1792, but being the commander in chief and the actual architect of the whole situation he refused to lead his armies in field, instead remianing in his castle and just ordering the armies through the letters to his commanders, among his many war 'achievements' he refused to even visit the army camps when they needed a boost in morale, but upon surrender he eventually singed off the 2nd partition - great book in English written by an American scholar in 1915. 1795 Kosciuszko Uprising was the last war for our independence with Poniatowski  as our king, and he did nothing to help the cause, worried about his private affairs more than the state's.  So when Polish armies were defeated, three powers went to divide the country.
Poniatowski abdicated on behalf of Russian Empire and thus singed off on the document dissolving the Polish Kingdom, on November 25, 1795, and then went to live his life in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, with 3/5of his debts and his life pension paid by Russia, Prussia and Austria. He died in 1798, again awfully in debt, leaving his estates under the Prussian occupation to prince Józef, who would become one of our national heroes. Rather disgraced former king Stanisław Poniatowski is not buried in the national sanctuary along our other kings and heroes inside the Wawel Castle Cathedral.
In the bottom left-hand corner there is our Polish national cavalry with lances.

enjoy

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sebastian Sobieski by Ivo Preda

Salve,
      I love historical miniature figure sculpture, sculpting and painting, and for years I have been vising various shows in the US to see master modelers in action and their art on display - Planet figure is the best platform for all about the miniature figurine world.

     Recent international show in Chicago, the World Expo, saw among many fine sculptures and dioramas this fabulous  mounted figurine by the one of the preeminent master modelers in the world maestro Ivo Preda.

     Upon seeing the photos of this piece I had asked maestro Preda whether I could show them on blog to which he gracefully consented.

       so, below find photos of this very piece -  of starost and Crown Standard-Bearer Sebastian Sobieski, Janina Coat of arms

based on the above Stockholm Roll depiction of this vexillifer regni (chorąży koronny) painted circa 1605.
   Pan Sebastian was the younger brother of our famous warrior, voivode, and also a vexillifer regni pan Marek, who was the grandfather of our king Jan III Sobieski, the Lion of Lechistan. (see Paprocki and Niesiecki for Marek Sobieski deeds of arms)

First, the work in progress








finished figurine




enjoy
ps
all photos of the figurine copyright @ maestro Ivo Preda

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Stubbs - The Anatomy of the Horse

Salvete omnes,

whenever I can I study the horse -  conformation, anatomy, physiology, behavior etc, just name it. I can say I am lucky to have horses around. But with our technology and 'gadgetry' we can have a horse image & film or a book/article right there on our device, without having to go to a stable or pasture or slaughterhouse and definitely without smelling its certain smells.

More than 260 years ago one English artists did not mind the smells at all and he spent countless hours and years drawing horse carcases in order to learn equine anatomy.
Hence I would like to turn your attention to a set of splendid engravings that offer the first anatomically correct and esthetically fabulous study of horse anatomy. These anatomy engravings and drawings were executed singlehandedly  by the English artist named George Stubbs, already  a maestro of the equine art, and in these  plates even today one can find help and guidance, and beauty.

In order to carry his task of doing the study of horse anatomy Stubbs rented a farmhouse in Horkstow in Licolnshire, as Venetia Morrison, author of The Art of George Stubbs, explains in here work (pages 21-45) - he would spent there 16 months of hard work, with 'carcasses in more than purified state.' would complete them around 1758, and additional 8 years to complete the plates as etchings etc and have the work published as The Anatomy of the Horse (1766).
I will quote directly the method as described by Ozias Humphrey, author of the Memoir written circa 1795 (the Picton Collection, Liverpool City Library), cited by Ms Morrison:
'The first subject wch[which] was procured was a horse wch was bled to death by the jugular vein - after wch the Arteries and veins were injected[with warm wax says Ms Morrison]. Then a bar of iron was suspended from the ceiling of the room, by a teagle [hook] of iron to wch iron hooks were fix'd - under this bar a plank was swung abt[about] 18 inches wide for the horses feet to rest upon - & the Horse was suspended to the bar  of iron by the hooks above mentioned which were fastened  into the opposite side of the Horse to that intended to be design'd, by passing the hooks to though the ribs & fastening them under the Back Bone - and by these means the Horse was fix'd in the attitude wch these prints represent and continued hanging in the posture six or seven weeks, or as long as they were fit for use - His drawings of a skeleton were previously made - and then the operations upon this fix'd subject were thus begun. He first began by dissecting & designing the muscle of the Abdomen - proceeding through five different lays of muscles until he came to peritoneum and the plura though wch appear'd the lungs & the intestines - after wch the Bowels were taken out & Cast away. - Then he proceeded to dissect the Head[..] and so he proceeded till he came to the Skeleton - it must be noted that by means of the Injection  the Muscles. the Blood vessels, and the Nerves, retain'd  their form to the last without undergoing any Change of position.
In this manner he  advance  his work by stripping off Skin and clearing  and preparing as much of the subject as he concluded  wou'd employ a whole day to prepare, design and describe, as above related till the whole subject was completed'
Ms Morrison writes (p22) that Stubbs must have read the Albinus ' Tabulae Sceleti et Musculorum Corporis Humani (1747), where Albinus explained his method








Valete