Medieval Radio Blog

Statues of wild men: the medieval equivalent of some popular figurine of modern times?

Recently a medieval treasure was unearthed in England.  It’s a figurine of a wild man, brandishing a club and a set of powerful beard hairs.

Check the link:

What is strange is that such figurines were common in the Middle Ages if the art historians and archaeologists can be believed.   A very common motiff indeed, so that it was almost an obsession._87112586_2014t413_spoon_knop-2

In a world of increasing law and order, and establishment, and all those things that hippy, long-hair singers periodically rail against…   these wild men images hearkened to some longing in medieval people’s hearts to have an even lower life expectancy and to be crippled even more easily by chronic ailments.

The wild man as an artistic image in the Middle Ages was, in fact, the medieval artist’s way of saying, “I know we’ve got these church bells telling the time now, and tithe barns, and Cistercian pottery factories, and widespread literacy….  but just out there, beyond the tilled fields there is a forest where no law and order prevails.  Moot and lawless are its residents, all dressed up like Hercules-wannabes.  And if this established order ever collapses, we’ll be going that way too.”


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