Medieval kids' birch-bark doodles




Bark doodles sounds like a yummy dog treat.


Here comes the knout…


There have probably been doodles as long as kids could find a burnt stick for charcoal and something to doodle on…


I thought the second one was a stick-necked horse with reins.


What struck me about this is how modern the doodles seemed. Even when trying not to I tend to think of historical peoples and outlooks as being stodgy or something, but these doodles look just the same as any current doodles by a kid and for a moment I felt really connected to the past.


I like Onfim. Probably because I went through a hell of a lot of birch bark as a kid, too. :smile:

Interesting how the hands are drawn, as if he’s drawing on the symbolism of a pitchfork. I can remember drawing people’s noses as upside-down U’s, because that’s what the edges resembled as I stood under them.


Yeah, there is a strange shape which is partly the head of the horse and probably partly reins. The weapon is in his other hand, stabbing the guy on the ground.


Remember, homo sap hasn’t changed significantly since well before historical times. Art has gotten more sophisticated – perspective was a huge innovation, of course – but doodles aren’t usually trying to take advantage of any of those newer tools.


Egad. Those children drawings are as immature then as they are now.


The neat thing about birch bark is that you don’t need a burnt stick to write on it, just a stick. Or a rock. Or your fingernail.

(Um, no birch trees around wherever you grew up?)


I love the idea of someone researching kids’ drawings through history. One of them looked like a figure wielding a sword on a horse which is akin to boys’ drawings of soldiers, tanks, guns, etc. Is that a facination or a theme that runs throughout time? Did the boy actually see a man with a sword on horseback? Are there drawings left by girls (some of whom may have been left in a nunnery at an early age) or had some education and access to materials? What did they draw? Please don’t say, “princesses”.


I’d say it’s more likely that’s a guy with a lance on horseback, though I’m sure anyone who was learning to write (reading was supposedly fairly common) would have had a chance to see armed warriors on horseback, as they lived in pretty interesting times.

I was thinking they were drawing hands like that because they were learning to write the letter E, maybe the reason is even simpler than that.


True, but I was thinking of kids scribbling on other surfaces. Rocks. Each other. Whatever’s handy.


Which Birch did I besmirch?


We tree…




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