Sunday, October 24, 2010

One does not live by sword and horseriding alone :)

Our ancestors loved to eat and drink, and only the coming of the Soviet Poland known as PRL (from 1945-90) almost destroyed our national culinary arts. Alas they have been coming back and old recipes have been brought back, and especially Polish meat smoking and fermented sausage making has been having a 'Renaissance' of sorts in Poland and... in the United States and Canada - in the North American there is a bunch of Polish meat making afficionados who collaborated on 3 books already, eg available on Amazon Stanley-Marianski
Note that it is not easy to obtain some good organic pork these days around New York City (as oppose to Montreal, Canada) nor good organic natural (cleaned tripes) casing is readily available.
...this past September my friendWaldi (Waldemar Kozik who also is a friend and collaborator of Mr Marianski ) went to the Catskills (mountains in New York about 2 hours drive from NYC). The purpose of the trip was to ... smoke some Polish sausages he had made based on Old Poland recipes. Valdi gets most of his meats from this one great Greek butcher shop (albeit some Puertoricans and Dominicans work there too, it is the Big Apple after all) in Astoria, Queens. We go there to get some good Kalamata lives, oil and other great Greek goods - in XVII century our ancestors had Armenian and Turkish merchants bring saffron,  cinnamon, cumin, wine from Hungary and further south, Greek raisins, Persian raisins and dates, and other Eastern delicacies so their food was very spice-ed up, but not 'hot' or picante/caliente in Thai or Mexican style. I am not a specialist on the food history so let us leave the food history and get back to our story.
Valdi came back after a week, looking very 'mountain man' :) and only his faithful Tibetan Lhasa Apso 'Zack' saved his skin and brought him back to civilization, while his coolers were full of wonderfully smoked sausages and meats.
Naturally as friend do, we then  had a 'potlatch' ( in a Polish tradition) and some sausages were brought forth: Lisiecka (favorite of our beloved pope John Paul II), Krakowska Dry (still drying :) ), Hunter (Mysliwska), dark venison sausage (made out of whitetail deer meat) and Wiejska (Country natural) along with some 'nalewka' and other stronger spirits from Poland (eg Debowa  - oak vodka).
 You can see the sausages on these two pictures:
here are sliced Hunter, thick Krakowska in slices and one piece, and Country natural also sliced.

and here is the venison one with the other three sliced and in a pieces.

Valdi is a master of his art (and also a fine photographer) , and in order to try his delicious  sausages even some of the  New York rich and famous ask him to share  his artfully made sausages, smoked salmon and other meats.
Anyway, food was good, especially eaten with rye bread (made our Slavic way which is the best) and after the party ended, I took Lisiecka home and we have been enjoying it a little bit at a time, along with the other 3 sausages.

There is nothing like good food, smooth drink, and fine company when leaves turn golden and red and evenings grow longer and longer. We can only aspire to the feast carried by our Eastern European nobility, be it in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Romania.
until the next time

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Slow Autumn re-start of my bloggin'

I must say that my blogging has been rather slow these days, I do hope it will pick up soon but thus far it is a rather snail pace of a movement. Do forgive me.
Of a subejct I intend to cover within next two months or before the end of the calendar year of 2010
- more Saka and Sarmatians, including their horse tack
- North Americana - meaning Native Amerindians, Spanish colonial, Mexican and American horsemen - in part inspired by sculptural work of fantastic  artist David Lemon, who also has become a new 'follower of my blog - David's blog here
- Polish, Russian,  Lithuanian etc subjects of  XVI-XVIII centuries, here dear Samuel has provided me with so much 'ammunition' from Slovakia and former Hungarian Kingdom that I cannot decide where to start
- some Slavic medieval themes - I got some projects in development
God willing :)
Curious thing happened  - I was surfing internet and on this website - Russian military history magazine  Zeughaus - in their own publishing company book on the battle of Konotop  (  Ukrainian-Crimean Tatars and Polish alliance  contra MuscovitesAD 1659 ) battle I saw my own artwork,  I inquired further and I found that they sued my artwork on the front title page inside and on page 16 within the corpus of the book itself.
The image shows  Crimean Tatar warriors on horseback, and it was published in the Infort Editions book titled Biala Cerkiew (important battle of Polish-Cossack wars) - in 2007 - biala-cerkiew-23-25-IX-1651
These are the pages :) :
and page 16

I do not have to add that my name is not mentioned within the book and that I was not asked about the image being included in the publication... instead the publisher's page carries a note that illustrations inside the book were prepared by V. Typikin, artist...
any my original sketch in ink and acrylic - also above another sketch from that book on the Biala Cerkiew battle.
 ps I would like to welcome all new 'followers' of this blog  - themselves splendid bloggers :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Muscovite Reitar 1660s

I have been researching the Russian reitars of the 1653-67 war, that was the war where our Polish-Lithuanian Republic was  first invaded by the  Tsar of Muscovy Russia ( I use the name Muscovy until the reign of Peter the Great who created Russia, as per Lev Gumilov thesis) then by the Swedes and prince Rakoczi of Transylwania  George_II_Rakoczi .
this is the image thus far ... 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The mid-XVIII century Uhlan, der Ulan, Ulan, Улан in the Prussian soldier writing

long time ago I wrote this , so now let us jump to this remarkable book from the end of the XVIII century, when a Polish-Lithuanian Tatar (and Polish) lancer was yet to become the famous ulan [uhlan] of the Napoleonic wars. Note that Prussians were actually great importers of Polish horses in the XVI,  XVII and XVIII centuries,  and most likely the so called Trakehner horse breed was created by the Prussian breeders out of some foundation mares and sires that were of Polish imports in the XVIII century.

'Remarks on Cavalry; by the Prussian Major General of Hussars Warnery' for the first time published in 1781.

on the lance, the 'queen of cavalry battle':

“There was formerly in European armies, a species of cavalry called lancers: they were armed at all points; […] they were all noble or lived nobly, but they could not be employed on all occasions, they were too expensive, each of them was obliged to have two horses for his own person, a large one for battles and tournaments and another for marches and detachments; and beside these, one for the servant who had the care of them: and it was in consequence of the great expence that these troops were discontinued, when the armies were augmented
[our general is obviously simplifying the reason why heavy lancer of  XVI and early XVII centuries became obsolete in the Western European theater of war]. It is nevertheless certain, that the lance will always be the Queen of Arms for defensive of this nature of cavalry.”

About Polish-Lithuanian ulans:

Ulans are nowhere to be found, except in Poland, unless you assimilate them with the pretended Prussian 'Bosniacks'; they have faithfully served the Kings of the House of Saxony [Saxon kings that also were the kings of Polish_Lithuanian Commonwealth in  a from of in personal union between the countries, similar to Wladyslaw Jagello] and the present one has three regiments of them in his service; they are well mounted and disciplined, and form an admirable corps of light cavalry: they ought to be all Tartars of Lithuania ( still Muslim), brave, faithful, and steady, and by no means drunkards. There are however amongst them a few Poles; the Respublica [Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth] has also a few corps or 'pulks,' but they are by no means in the same order that the others are. They have preserved their ancient institutions; the Towarischs [towarzysz] or Noble Comrades [who] have their Podstowy [pocztowy] or servants [retainers], who are Poles; the Towarisch are the masters, and the Podstowy the privates, as formerly in France, the latter perform the ordinary service. […] the arms of the masters are, a pike [a lance] with a banderole [pennon], (or small flag) a sabre and pistols; those of the servants the same as the Hussars [sabre, carbine, a pistol or two]. In an action the latter form in second line in two ranks, in small squadrons, and the masters attack or charge in single rank, which was the custom amongst all the Gen's d'Armes [knights and later lancers].”

no light troops are better appointed or more active or allert on horseback, than the Polish Ulans: the equipage and appointments of the Ulan and his horse, are admirable, commodious and proper: and although I am not very partial to those of the Hungarians, yet I am persuaded it is very proper for several nations, particularly those in which it is national dress.

a little on the Polish, Tatar, Moldavian horse and Hungarian too:
...Polish, Tartar, and Moldavian horses, answer better for them [service as light cavalry] than Hungarian, those being extremely degenerated within these fifty years; without doubt, for want of attention to procure stallions from Turkey, which are found to be the best in the Hungarian Haras (or studs,) and they never had any other, while the Turks were in possession of that country.
and when talking about a light horseman's steed  our general states :
[...] for Polish horses, as light, strong, and excellent for all the operations of war.
[...]In a course of 600 paces, a good German horse, in condition, will get before a Polish, Tartar, or other horse of that description : but if the course is continued to a greater distance, the latter will regain its ground, leave the other behind, and continue in wind for a much longer time : and should the heavy horse be forced a little beyond his wind, he becomes insensible to the bit and spur, and looses all his activity.

On a light horseman and his equipment, and Polish [sic!] saddles:
For a soldier to be really a light horseman, he must be able to turn his horse quick and short, when in full speed, to raise up and catch any thing from the ground; he will find himself much firmer in his feat, have greater command of his horse, and much more agility in the exercise of his arms, &c. by being mounted on an eastern saddle, that is to say, upon a Hungarian, Turkish, or Polish one [as one can see we Polish people had our own saddles similar to Hungarian and Turkish]; to those who have been accustomed to other saddles, they appear at first to be inconvenient, but they very soon find themselves perfectly at ease in them, and ever after, prefer them to all others; they are very light, cheap, and durable, and do not so often require repairing [sic!] as the others do.

A good goat or sheep's skin, should be used instead of a housse [textile], they will cover at the same time, the pistols and the portmanteau [in a Polish  and Hungarian fashion, I should add] ; the bridle also ought to be as light as possible, without any unnecessary buckles or straps; there should be but one attached to the pommel of the saddle, to strap on the cloak rolled up before the trooper, which will be very important, to protect his belly from a thrust with the bayonet or sword, the stirrups should be bronzed; and by these means, the trooper, on his arrival at camp or quarters, has but few straps and buckles to clean. He covers his arms, accoutrements, &c. with the goat-skin, and has time to attend to his horse and himself; in short, every thing should be light and proper, without affectation. I have been informed, that except as to the saddles, the English regiments of Eliott, and Burgoyne, are thus equipped.
The Hussars do not require tents, [...] no light troops are better appointed or more active or allert on horseback, than the Polish Ulans: the equipage and appointments of the Ulan and his horse, are admirable, commodious and proper...
 until the next time :)
Juliusz Kossak's watercolor  is to show one of the foremost Polish light horse commander and 'zagończyk' (zagonchikh) of the XVIII century Kazimierz (Casimir) Pulaski, 'father of the American cavalry', hero of USA and Poland. Here our Kazimierz  is shown during the action against the Russians near the fortified and very Holy monastery of Częstochowa (where our only  Queen of Poland resides :) ),  that monastery  he successfully defended (for 2 years) against the Russian invaders and their Polish supporters during the Bar Confederacy 1768-72.
..the saddles come from the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw, and represent XVIII century Polish-Lithuanian saddlery, most likely from the old royal city of Lwow (Lviv) :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010


a progress sketch of the ancient Iranian horsemen - inspired in part by the

ancient Achaemenid rhyton from Erebuni, Armenia Achaemenid rhyton Erebuni wiki