|Obligatory size comparison with my Wyatt copy here.. somebody sure has long legs! I'm not sure that will stay..or if I will shorten them a hair. Adding even a small amount of bone can substantially appear to shorten legs. Ah the joy of wicked soft clay!|
It's time for an update... I did a little hair transplant.. and some research given clues and tips people have sent me. I am by NO MEANS feeling expert enough to even paraphrase what I've learned to date. However I have learned there are a couple of breeds that could be represented over many millenia that these artworks were being created. They were used for chariots, racing and generally cherished as fine horses. While different breeds may be being discussed, I came across frequent reference to horns (aka "frontal bosses"). Today only one breed of horse is still known to have these, the Moyle. That said, Thoroughbreds sometimes display them apparently... google all of that to learn/see more, the one horse who's photographs show it best is "Riddle" I believe?
For now I've focus more on the big shapes that are most often emphasized in the art. I'm still building but I'm feeling like that "type" is starting to appear. Backing up a little, I started with a skull (a wittled down one of these shown to the side here). I sculpted these skulls last year to use in a sculpting workshop. I'd planned to sell them as armature bases but they are too big for your aveage 1:9 scale. They're nice 1:9 scale warmblood size but that's it. I decided they could remain classroom exercise tools instead & someday I'd sculpt another smaller one.
As you can see here I've been building up slowly onto that skull and the clean/white areas won't be getting much more than a transparent smear across them. This is just skin over bone in all horses. One thing that's the biggest challenge to me in teaching sculpture is getting folks to add very very slowly and evaluate. Scale work is tricky and it's so easy to add too much too soon! (Take my word on this). I'm sure everyone will just have to learn for themselves like I did but I try to spare people the torture.
So...art from this era shows some obvious stylization but then again, you do see some themes no matter the style. The horse I am narrowing down my "ideal" towards seems to be the " Nisaean horse" which was distributed by conquerors apparently over the millennia. There really haven't been most breeds in modern times for that long so I'm not sure the word "breed" is even accurate?
ANYHOW, I could wax on & on but for now here are a few vases (amphora), that I saved off of wikimedia commons because I really am intrigued by the details. The horses all do not have the same mane. Their heads are clearly of 2 types; the ox-eyed type and the more traditional type seen in horses today. I'm aiming for the more primitive type with a straight profile but the eyeset is at a different angle.
All of the art of horses of this finer build and higher headset tend to show them with the roached style stiff mane. It's actually pretty long for a finer horse... similar to a Fjord horse's mane length. The average lighter breed's mane wouldn't stand at that length... it intrigues me greatly. As an extinct breed of horse I don't not doubt it's possible to have breed a finer boned, refined breed that carries some more primitive traits (think sportier Friesians!). ANYHOW, so I decided to redo the mane thinner than it was (you can't tell from previous photos but it wasn't too thin in width from above). I needed a better mesh underneath. So here is the transplant. I also tried out the new crest in photoshop as I had to cut into wires. Since I wanted this, I had to cut into (some not all) of the wires protruding from the skull & twisting it onto my armature in the neck.
Once I was happy iwth this I could address the ears. I really thought I'd be going with a slight "relaxed" out to the sides look. However when I pointed them back it really emphasized the look I'm used to seeing, moreso than ears forward. It was a tough call but I see him parading into a situation where he needs a bit of attitude to win.
From here it's more & more becoming a matter of finding robust horses, from Arabians to Friesians... and of course tons of this 2-4 thousand year old art to ponder. Below you can see how just inside the tuber ischiem bones of the hip there is nothing yet (hollow thighs, how we all should be so lucky!) ;).
Backside is starting ot get some flesh too. I had to push the whole left leg under. After this extremely nerve wracking similar adjustment to my Ranch Mare sculpture, where I had to do this with a hammer & having her in a vice.. I am happy to use less strong wire for this guy. He might not stand reliably without his belly post until I cast him, but that's fine. There *IS* such a thing as being over-horsed in sculpture! ;)