Tuesday, 6 June 2017

oxen free

Hyperallergic directs to a rather delightful little illustrated study from 1801 that researcher and engraver Joseph Strutt compiled on the games, sports and pastimes of the people of medieval England. Before the advent of modern, genteel distractions, social affairs were really physically demanding and verged towards the sadistic.
The thirty-nine colour plates inspired by Middle Ages painting, song and nursery-rhymes speculate on the rules of hoodman blind (an early version of blind man’s “bluff”—traditionally called buff as in to push or shove around in Old English but as that term fell out of common-usage and play was less violent bluff started making more sense), wrestling, something called “hot cockles” as well as ones whose play defied hazarding a guess as well as more recognisable sports, like jousting tournaments and birding. These fun and games of course were more than a way to stave-off boredom and moreover in a conservative society a way for the sexes to mingle in an albeit regimented but acceptable manner—and makes us wonder how our contemporary games might be regarded by future generations.