Scathach of Alba - coloured (detail) Picture

Coloured version of my drawing of the Scottish warrior-trainer Scáthach (FWW Stock Challenge - Scathach of Alba). Detail with higher resolution than the full painting.

-Media: Watercolours over photocopied original drawing on watercolour paper.
-Other references: Photographs of stones and Celtic swords and designs, self-picture for the skirt movement.

I wanted to draw a Celtic warrior-woman from Irish myth, so here is how I imagine Scáthach of Alba, a formidable warrior-woman with druidic skills who trained warriors in her renowned academy in the island of Skye in Alba (Scotland). She trained a lot of famous heroes, Cúchulainn among them. Her sister, Aoife, was also a great warrior-woman, even greater than herself.

"If Cúchulainn would go to Scathach, the woman-warrior that lived in the east of Alban, his skill would be more wonderful still, for he could not have perfect knowledge of the feats of a warrior without that. (...) he stayed (...) with Scathach, until he had learned all the arts of war and all the feats of a champion" (Lady Gregory's Cúchulainn of Muirthemne).

I wrote Scáthach's name and the names of some other famous warrior-women in Irish myth in the stones using the Celtic tree Ogham alphabet: The left stone includes the names of Nessa, Conchubar's mother, and queen Medb. The stone on the right has "Scáthach banlaoch" (Warrior-woman Scáthach), plus Ogarmach, the invader daughter of the King of Greece and Macha.

I depicted Scáthach with woad skin-paint, flowing loose hair and a checked sleeveless, ankle-length dress. Although the Celts in Gaul, both male and female, seemed to favour trousers when fighting, there is evidence that the Insular Celts often preferred dresses and short/long tunics to pants. The warrior-women of this time (c. 1st Century BC) are often described in the mythology as wearing long dresses and cloaks, loose hair, a great number of ornaments, and little or no armour. The same goes for the men (with short/long tunics instead of dresses) Celts didn't seem to be great fans of wearing armour, preferring to go to battle fully decked in all their (often encumbering) finery and/or with bare chest or fully naked.

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