what is this?

what is this … toy? … that this kid is pulling after himself in this painting?:

medieval toy

he seems to have a ball loaded on to it — or in it. is it a kind-of a toy cart just without wheels? or do you think it’s some sort of basket thing for playing a lacrosse-like ball game?

these two kids are part of a larger medieval painting that’s on the cover of a book titled Medieval Families, but i haven’t figured out what the title of the painting is.

this slightly naughty little boy also appears to be pulling his sister’s hair. some human (primate) behaviors seem to be pretty universal across both space and time! (~_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. medieval toys.)

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18 Comments

  1. It has some kind of a wick (or tail) pointing out of it.

    Looking only at the top of the contraption, it looks like a cradle of some kind.
    So it would be a cradle sled?

    Reply

  2. @mercher – “Well the Royal Academy reckons it’s just a cart”

    ah ha! thanks! (^_^)

    and, oops — that’s not that little boy’s sister, it’s another boy. the skirt threw me off. (~_^)

    i was wondering if these were saints/the holy family or something, ’cause a bunch of the characters have halos. makes sense, now! thanks again!

    Reply

  3. @niall – “At first I thought it was a bear trap topped with an apple.”

    children under 3 should not be allowed to play with the bear trap without adult supervision. (~_^)

    Reply

  4. I think that the cart idea is correct, though we would call it a wagon today. Making wheels for a child’s cart would probably have been excessive for the time so it just has runners like a sleigh.

    Reply

  5. From what I know of Germanic languages, a wagon had four wheels, while carts used to have two. I don’t know when this was lost in English, but it is still true in the Scandinavian languages, although I doubt most people know it.

    Carts and wagons are clearly drawn differently on bronze age rock carvings, so the separation between the concepts might be very old.

    Reply

  6. @ shannon

    It is a toy cart, as I am sure that it was a cart in the mind of the child, even though it did not have wheels.

    I also think it is brilliantly constructed using only three sticks and four twigs.

    It is also funny to see that cars was a favorite toy for boys from before engines.

    Personally, seeing that our ancestors found time to make toys for the children, is kind of uplifting, as it is proof that they found life worth living on a level above mere brutes.

    Reply

  7. Well, it looks an awful lot like a fruit picker basket to me, particularly with the apple in it. Check out the images in the search results:

    link.

    Reply

  8. @inbuley knordvark – “http://www.reddit.com/r/hbd”

    nice! thanks. (^_^) 610 readers? goodness!

    (knordvark? i’m presuming that the first “k” is not silent, right? (~_^) )

    Reply

  9. Just a heads up – Steven Pinker is doing an “AMA” on reddit here:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/iama

    at 6-7pm EST.

    Reddit is a liberal hive and HBD-supportive comments get downvoted and buried. (basically anything that says that parenting/education/culture isn’t always that important and genes matter too). I thought it would be nice to maybe get a bunch of questions prepared to ask him, hopefully early on in the thread.

    Reply

  10. @m james – “Just a heads up – Steven Pinker is doing an ‘AMA’ on reddit here … at 6-7pm EST.”

    thanks! that’s on tuesday, march 12th (this coming tuesday).

    @m james – “I thought it would be nice to maybe get a bunch of questions prepared to ask him, hopefully early on in the thread.”

    good idea. i’ll put up a post to let people know it’s happening. thanks again! (^_^)

    Reply

  11. Whoops. Yeah, the 12th.

    anyway, people should create an account and ask away. to get in early, the celebrities usually start the thread a half hour earlier than the assigned time, so you can look at the newly created threads here and keep refreshing the page until it shows up: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/new/

    should upvote each other’s comments too, lol.

    Reply

  12. @mediakrig – “I also think it is brilliantly constructed using only three sticks and four twigs.”

    yeah, that’s pretty cool, huh? (^_^)

    @mediakrig – “It is also funny to see that cars was a favorite toy for boys from before engines.”

    boys will be boys! they luv their technology.

    @mediakrig – “Personally, seeing that our ancestors found time to make toys for the children, is kind of uplifting….”

    yes. sweet! i’m still suspicious that the lion man may have been a toy. he’s got such a cute face — he’s smiling! or, at least, he’s pretty d*rned cute.

    Reply

  13. @mediakrig – “From what I know of Germanic languages, a wagon had four wheels, while carts used to have two. I don’t know when this was lost in English, but it is still true in the Scandinavian languages, although I doubt most people know it.”

    consulted the (shorter) oxford english dictionary on this. the dates are the time-period of the first recorded usage:

    – cart:
    1. A chariot, a carriage. Middle English(1150-1349) – E17(1600-1629) [no longer used in this sense. a chariot has two wheels. a “carriage” has four wheels according to the dictionary.].
    2. A strong two-wheeled or four-wheeled conveyance usually with a low-sided rectangular body…. Middle English(1150-1349). (<<this is how i think of a cart – h.chick)
    3. A light two-wheeled one-horse vehicle for driving in . E19(1800-1829).

    – wagon:
    1. A sturdy four-wheeled vehicle for transporting heavy or bulky loads, often with a removable cover. L15(1470-1499).

    Reply

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