Haruki Murakami, from “UFO in Kushiro” (via the-final-sentence)
Medieval kids’ doodles on birch bark
Here’s something very special. In the 1950s archeologists made a great discovery near the city of Novgorod, Russia: they dug up hundreds of pieces of birch bark with all sorts of texts written on them. The 915 items are mostly letters, notes and receipts, all written between the 11th and 15th century. Among the more notable scraps is a marriage proposal from a man called Mikita to his beloved Anna: “marry me - I want you and you want me, and the witness to that is Ignat Moiseev” (item 377).
The most special items, however, are the ones shown above, which are from a medieval classroom. In the 13th century, young schoolboys learning to write filled these scraps with alphabets and short texts. Bark was ideal material for writing down things with such a short half-life. Then the pupils got bored and started to doodle, as kids do: crude drawings of individuals with big hands, as well as a figure with a raised sword standing next to a defeated beast (lower image). The last one was drawn by Onfim, who put his name next to the victorious warrior. The snippets provide a delightful and most unusual peek into a 13th-century classroom, with kids learning to read - and getting bored in the process.
More information - On the scraps in general, see here. Here is a full inventory, in Russian. On the excavation, see here and here. More kids’ doodles here and here. Some letters in this Flickr stream. The Leiden scholar Jos Schaeken published a book in Dutch on this material, which can be downloaded for free here (English translation to follow next year).
Kids have drawn the same way forever. There must be some lesson in that.
I have a new poem up at Hazlitt. Should you find yourself in need of a new poem.
Purr is a game about happy cats by Chelsea Saunders.
Why Try It: Simulates petting a rumbling cat; cute dialogue.
Time: Three minutes.
How to Play: Use the left mouse button to pet the cat, or click on the smiling button at the top to say nice things to it.
Author’s Notes: "purr is a mini game baby where you pet a cat to keep it purring and the cat talks to you about getting stuck and rainy days. made over the course of three (rainy) days"
More Info: In ways, Purr could be considered an example of the virtual pet genre of digital games. However, unlike most virtual pets, the game does not require that the player play it on a long-term basis or constantly monitor it.
thanks for the review!!
this is the best