So, what do we know about the inventions of snowmen? Have more than one known culture in climates involving snow independently developed a game/ritual/behavior of building “men” from snow? Any trace of records of snowman production in–for example–the pre-Columbian Americas, or ancient Hokkaido, or any other area where it would have been independently invented without influence from Europeans?
The fossil record is slight.
There is a book mentioned in the Wiki page on snowmen, The History Of The Snowman by Bob Eckstein, that says there are depictions of a snowman in the margins of the pages of a 1380 “book of hours”.
At the Bronx zoo, the African male lion enjoys snow. He builds it into a pillar with his paws, and then, when its high enough, he swipes it with his paw, devastating it.
That’s not a snowman. But the African lion wasn’t taught to use snow in his natural environment, and unlikely has a snowman building instinct. Nonetheless he has an application for the snow pillar, and he builds one.
I think its a fair conjecture that humans building snowmen goes back into prehistory. Why wouldn’t we? We’re not as sharp as an African lion?
Mostly based on the book Czarcasm mentioned.
As for historical snowman-building outside the range of European influence, it seems very plausible: human beings in all cultures have always made models of human figures in whatever materials came to hand, so why would snow be an exception? This article says:
Another article also based on the above book claims:
To be fair, we’ve not explored a lot of Antarctica. I bet there are loads of snowman fossils down there.
It it my understanding that snowman fossils consist largely of desiccated carrots, lumps of coal, and possibly stovepipe hat fibers.
Yeah, I guess carbon dating is just useless.
Might work on the eyes…
[flounces off to sit with Czarcasm and Arkcon and complain about the kids who think it’s so much cooler to be the class clown than to actually do the homework]
Are you under the mistaken impression it never snows in Africa?
Well…snowthing fossils, at any rate.
But how could you tell?
Must admit, it’s a little saddening that our earliest visual depiction of a snowman is some sort of anti-Semitic attack.
By how eldritch they look?
So, uh, guys? Apparently us in Spain are Africa after all, or maybe Japan.
Three-ball? Snowman only have two balls round here (UK).
It’s going to take a lot to drag me away from this discussion.
I’m wondering if the first snowman came before or after the first snow dwelling/igloo/fort. And also if the first snowman was for fun, or a utility use for markers or protection as in a scare[del]crow[/del]human for example. It’s probably difficult to get a precise answer considering the diversity of cultures, etc. where snow falls on the globe. I’d speculate that snowmen sprang up independently all over the world at different times for different reasons.
Mais où sont les neiges d’antan ??