I love how the texture of this piece is so resolved and established. There is no ambiguity between flesh, leather, cloth and mail. Everything is distinct and precise....I admire the deft command of those elements.
Sipahis were mounted cavalry for the Ottoman Turks. They're very similar to European Knights in how they functioned. Within the Ottoman military they were the equivalent of the more famous Janissary Corp. Unlike the Janissaries who were made up of former Christian peasants taken up as children to be the Sultan's Slaves, Sipahi's were freemen and Ethnic Turks. There were two groups of Sipahis the Timarli who were land owning Turks and Kapikulu(which are better known and appears to be the type portrayed in the artwork above) were the Sultan's personal Household Cavalry.