Viking games and Sámi Pastimes: Making balls of Fomitopsis betulina

  • Ingvar Svanberg Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Isak Lidström Malmö University, Sweden
Keywords: bio-cultural domains, bracket fungi, childlore, cultural context, ethnomycology, ball games, traditional games

Abstract

Ethnomycology is the study of the bio-cultural aspects of human-fungal interactions. This article discusses the involvement of the bracket fungus Fomitopsis betulina within the material culture of traditional games. With a particular focus on the Nordic countries, the aim is to review and analyze the use of simple balls made of bracket fungi. We argue that the fungi ball can be considered the precursor of the rubber (and the gutta-percha) ball. Moreover, the replacement of fungi balls with rubber balls marks, to a certain extent, a temporal transition from traditional folk games with roots in pre-industrial society to modern sports in which balls and other equipment received a more standardized shape.

Author Biographies

Ingvar Svanberg, Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden

Ingvar Svanberg is a senior researcher at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University. His major field of expertise is Eurasian ethnobiology, anthropology of food, hunting-gathering societies, and sustainable use of local fish populations.

Isak Lidström, Malmö University, Sweden

Isak Lidström is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sport Science at Malmö University, Sweden.

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Published
2019-11-05
How to Cite
Svanberg, I., & Lidström, I. (2019). Viking games and Sámi Pastimes: Making balls of Fomitopsis betulina. Ethnobiology Letters, 10(1), 86-96. https://doi.org/10.14237/ebl.10.1.2019.1565
Section
Research Communications