You know you’ve gone into pretty obscure history when nobody is sure if you’re talking about a queen or a horse. Such is the case with Viśpálā (aka Vishpala) – who, in the Rig Veda (a sacred Indian text), is given the first prosthesis in recorded history, an iron leg. The leg-givers in question are the Ashwins, horse-headed twin gods who fly around in a gold chariot handing out presents, healing the sick, and making it change from day to night. They are unmistakably better than Santa Claus.
Unfortunately, that is about all the information there is on Viśpálā. We know that the Ashwins gave her the leg to help her with either a battle or a race (the Rig Veda is so old that translators have ongoing debates as to how to best translate it). The battle/race in question is referred to as Khela’s battle. Who’s Khela? Good question! The book just assumes you should know. But nobody does anymore.
Between that and being unsure if Viśpálā is a horse, the Rig Veda authors probably think we are pretty dumb here in the future.
So why’d I choose Viśpálā for this week? Partly I needed a breather – to catch up on book work, and to have a little bit of time for me to enjoy my birthday (which is today!). Partly I had a great picture in my head of a warrior woman with an elaborate metal leg, and I wanted to draw it. Partly, we hadn’t had any RPs with major disabilities since Penta! So here we are.
- Due to the human/horse confusion, I figured I’d make both of them! Maybe they were buddies. Truly, the possibilities are endless.
- The outfit she’s wearing is as period-accurate as I could figure, being a mix of female and warrior clothing. The sword she has is one meant for slashing from horseback.
- Those are the Ashwins flying across the sky. Bit odd that they have horse heads and are also driving horses. That’s like Donald Duck loading actual ducks onto the ark in Fantasia 2000.
- I had initially drawn Viśpálā TOTALLY differently before finding better research for how she would have dressed. I dig her old design, though, so here it is:
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Next Time on Rejected Princesses
This notable resident of Flinders Island has a name – and a story – that reads like a tragic opera.