Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tempus Fugit

My, how time flies.  We've moved to Pueblo, Colorado, I have a lovely (and smart-as-a-whip) Grand-daughter, and a new cat (the two are, in fact, logically related), I'm no longer in PA practice (though trying to re-enter), the shop's in pieces from the move (still), and My Lady Wife is happily ensconced in a new position with BuR.

We love Pueblo, and always knew we'd end up in the southwest eventually, things just happened a little sooner . . . The new house has a lovely view of the mountains, but sometimes I miss my trees.  

So, Gen has been after me to restart my blog for a while now, new moves, new friends, new hobbies, etc. and I knew I'd get around to it sooner or later, but now, tah-dah, new information!

Buried somewhere back in the dog cart posts I mentioned that the only extant primary source we have for a dog cart is an illumination in the 13th century Decretals of Gregory (the so called Smithfield Decretals).  When I started the cart the British Museum had taken down the image from their web site.  They sent me a very nice reply to an email back then saying basically, "we only have so much space on the server, and we decided to take that book down and have no plans to put it back up, but we'll happily sell you a copy of the image at an exorbitant price."

Kingdom A&S approaches in the Outlands and I've decided to finish the last tweaks, make a few re-dos, complete smithing the harness parts, and enter the Dog Cart.  Step one was to recheck the British Museum's price for a copy of the pic, when, lo and behold! the manuscript's back up!

So, now that we have an image we can expand--where'd I go wrong?  I still maintain a basket weave for the cart bed is a logical choice, but we can see in the illumination the sides are "clinker built" of over lapping boards clinch nailed at the overlap.  We can also reasonably conjecture that the bed may have been built more like a coffer or palanquin and the poles do indeed mount central to the bed sides and were not extensions of the bed's frame.

From the harness we can see the straps that cross the near dog's shoulders are wider than is common in modern dog carting.  Also the lead dog and second dog are not harnessed like a modern dog sled, but that the lead dog's leather strap traces run to a central point in the second dog's yoke, and the second dog's rope traces run to the poles, not the near dog's harness.

Interestingly, the pulling straps are only the yokes, there are no straps around the bodies of the dogs.

The lead looks a little "hang dog' (pun intended) because this arrangement means he's doing most of the work.  The unhappy looking guy in back is probably pushing because the happier looking near and second dogs are slacking off--or maybe he just thinks it's his turn to ride?

Another conjecture for the rational of a dog cart also occurred to me when I looked at this picture.  The rider in the blue cote is winding a hunting horn.  A dog cart would be useful for bringing in dressed game from a hunt for boar or stag.

I'm really glad the British Museum elected to put this fascinating work back-up, and even gladder I hadn't made the harness.