Sunday, November 22, 2009

Old watercolour - Plains warrior fantasy

hello again,
long time ago I drew a sketch of a mounted Native warrior, and then  I went over it with 'dry-brush' watercolour - the end result was  this rather fantasy-related drawing of a Plains rider (North American native warrior of the pre-1840s).
As I can recall my then-intent it had to do with this idea of showing a native warrior along with his war paraphernalia - coup stick, long lance, bow and arrows etc - displaying a captured musket/rifle and cartridge pouch of a US army soldier.
I say pre-1840s because he has tanned leather tubular leggings with coup marks and has not many items that can be related to the European, Mexican or American manufacture. His hair is adorned with eagle feathers with coup marks and his medicinal bird - crow or some other black bird . while his concave shield with various ritual images and hawk feathers etc should have been held by a shoulder strap and/or rim handle, as Plains shields were not held in the Old World fashion, by a hoop or handle in the middle of a shield.
He has a blanket wrapped around his hips, a typical Plains fashion until the end of the era, i.e., early XX century. In the millenia old tradition he painted his pace, and  his torso and arms, and has a gorget-like shell and trade beads  necklace on his chest. I gave him a choker but I do not think it was a good idea, well, too late as watercolours are hard to correct..
His mount has a eagle feather in its forelock, medicine and war exploits marks painted  on its body - coup marks etc, while there is a scalp lock hoop hanging on the war bridle, note that the bridle is but  a single rawhide rope with its end trailing the ground. The function of the scalp lock attached to the war bridle was not only to show this horse and its owner's war prowess, but also more practical as it caused a horse to keep its head lower when moving or risk being smacked around the sensitive head ( nostrils, jaw, face etc)  by the hooped scalp lock - quite ingenious horse-riding aide invented by the Plains tribes, well attested in the rock  and ledger art of the Plains. I am not showing his apishamore (Piegan word for the treeless leather/hide Plains saddle)but it may be covered with his blankets etc.
Horse's tail is tied for war and thus not visible.

There are things that I missed: a knife in a decorated sheath, war-club or hatchet. Proportions are off and things are unsteady but I still like this image, so it will stay.

   I got another old watercolour of Plains mounted warrior  that I will post next time the Plains warriors are subject of my notes and musings.
pa ka

Monday, November 16, 2009

Massagetan warrior I

...this is a version of my original Massagetan horseman.
   ... according to the already mentioned archaeologist, who is not my friend even by a longest Mongolian bow shot ;) , named Marek Wozniak the armor corselet consisted of leather plates or plaques sewn together and 'needle work' covered with leather 'ribbons' - somewhat similar to the Orlat warriors of the Orlat bone plaque or Kumbuz-Tepe , helmet based on the Samarkand find , sewn onto his hat aka ''bashlik.'' This type of reconstruction was proposed by the Kazakh archaeologists before but for much later dates. There is an English translation of Yablonsky article on the Massagetan warrior find

The shoulder protectors are based on the prof. Olbrycht discussion as have been reconstructed by  dr. Gorelik (his book on Alexander of Macedon and the Iranian world) of the Chirik-Rabat and the Gorelik's intepretations of the Chirik-Rabat and Saka in general.
find Chirik-Rabat here

... already mentioned Wozniak suggested the sword to be a typical longer Scythian version, as shown in 'The Golden Deer of Eurasia' or . I picked the battle ax  upon perusing  my Scythian and Saka book collections and it belongs to the southern Siberia finds published by Gryaznov (V century BC).

     Horse whip is my own 'imagination'  (if you read 'Tyrant' novels you may find out how deadly this 'nahayka' whips could  have been) while his belt is of south Siberian origin I saw in Gorelik's article on the Saka armor. The sword sharpening stone aka whet stone is a typical steppe tool, hung from nomads belts, typical find in the Pontic and Caspian steppes, also my own addition. The same with the choice of a bashlik type based on the Siberian Saka finds by the Soviet and  Russian archaeologists.

      This particular armour concept, especially choosing of Orlat bone plaques (variously dated to II c. BC to V c. AD  and do find this great article about the plaques  )  as basis  for the armour reconstruction and type of neck guard - segmented instead of one metal sheet (segmented is used by the later Saka, Yuezhi, Kangju or Huns, while single sheet was developed and used by the Saka being the earliest steppe collar),  has been heavily but substantively criticized by Ruben aka Mein Pantzer on the and my friend Patryk Skupniewicz.  Ruben pointed to a Taraz find

Having read (mostly) the Polos'mak book on the Pazyryk Saka's clothing I think that pants, boots, and tunic need to be reworked a lot. I am going to add a later Saka gorytos - longer and much more powerful bow as found by the Chinese in the former Saka and Uigur lands in the Chinese Turkestan (Xinjiang) - there is this delightful  article on Atarn archery website
Another set of elements are missing here, those are the cultural,  ritual and religious items always found in the Siberian kurgans of the Saka and related to their believes. Other items I could add here are the feathers and animals skins, especially snow leopard, wolf or tiger pelt adornments as natural part of the Scythian, Saka, Yuezhi, Hun, Turkic, Uigur, Mongol  warrior 'wolfbands. '  In this particular Saka aka North Iranian case the deer, wild boar and wild felines imagery shall find itself added here. After all, as my friend Patryk always points that  Shahnameh's Rustam was a Saka...
I shall correct them too, I hope.

Massagetan warrior

for a few weeks now I have been trying to research the theme of an armored Caspian steppe warrior of the 4th century BC - the Massagetan warrior or a member of a Saka Tigrakhauda/Tigraxauda, - Pointed Hat Sakaname of  the Achaemenid Persians.

This particular topic has been long overdue for me. About a year ago or more I drew a 'straight forward' Massagetan armored rider reconstruction based on a drawing and description done by an archaeologist, the idea was to show the Achaemenid warriors during the time of the Macedonian Conquest, as a result I have more images of Persian warriors, mostly infantry so they do not 'qualify' to appear here :).

I had consulted it with my friend Patryk, who has been writing about the Saka and Parthian warriors for his forthcoming articles and a book (perhaps), and he pointed some issue that would need to be addressed in order to arrive with more up-to-date image - I will try to work out these issues to be happy with the research etc.
There is this discussion going on here, on the -* that somehow triggered the return to this topic.
and I am attaching another image so some other discussion regarding Scythians etc as depicted in the Christian Cameron's book -'Tyrant' a finre adventure in the 4th century steppes of Eurasia - may be somehow enriched - the attached image is the compilation of Cimmerian (Kimerian) swords drawn some years ago by M.V. Gorelik, foremost specialist on the steppe peoples' warrior appearance.
I intend to draw some mounted Cimmerians in the near future.

* dead link - they changed the server -