Mudcat Café message #1092380 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49016   Message #1092380
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
13-Jan-04 - 10:20 PM
Thread Name: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of Six White Horses
In British circles in days gone by (I don't know when carriages started being driven, so I'll be vague about this) the size of the carriage sometimes dictated how many horses pulled it. Very large carriages, and things like mail coaches, needed six horses. In other circumstances, it was just for speed or ostentatious display. I did some searching (it's hard to search for "horse-drawn carriages" and "six horses" and have a meaningful result), but here is some of what I found:

Information about types of carriages.

A photo of a carriage pulled by six horses.

Some interesting archeological information from China about how many horses pulled the emperor's carriage.

Stuff about caissons and about field artillery (cannons) pulled by six horses.

(No link available) a page cached by Google that discusses these carriages:

The Russian interpretation is interesting. Reminds me of some commentary on a tape I have from an NPR program that was recorded at the Ten Pound Fiddle. Michael Cooney was on, and one song he sang (I can't remember the name) was about a young man who, after arguing with his fiance, swore he'd marry the next woman he saw. She had her servants delay him, dressed in rags and dirt, and met him on the road in front of the house. They suffer along for a while, he tells his family of his pledge, and after the wedding he is happily surprised by "the most beautiful maiden he'd courted for years." The discussion had to do with the fact that this was considered a fragment of a much longer and ancient piece called "The Marriage of Sir Gawain" that has all but been lost.

Interesting discussion.