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Thread: Anthropologists discover earliest form of wall art page

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    Anthropologists discover earliest form of wall art

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    Anthropologists working in southern France have determined that a 1.5 metric ton block of engraved limestone constitutes the earliest evidence of wall art. Their research, reported in the most recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows the piece to be approximately 37,000 years old and offers rich evidence of the role art played in the daily lives of Early Aurignacian humans. ...
    Anthropologists discover earliest form of wall art

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    Interesting but you'd think they'd at least link to a picture in the write up. So now there will probably be a paleo art war between them and the Chauvet folks about who has the oldest...
    "I did it for money and for a woman. I didn't get the money, and I didn't get the woman"

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    pics or it didnt happen

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    Here you go:



    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/15/sc...e-anatomy.html

    Actually ... that seems to be the New York Times' cartoonist's joke, based on the opening text: "Researchers have discovered illustrations of female anatomy in a rock shelter in France that date back 37,000 years. ..."

    I think the wasp-waist is something of a giveaway. Paleolithic women were almost certainly not overweight -- the "Venus figurines" are not photographs but specialized, probably religious, objects, after all. (Nowadays Roman Catholics wear crucifixes: it doesn't mean people walk around the streets with crosses on their backs.) But one doubts that they looked like anorexic fashion models either and I can't imagine Paleolithic males would have wanted that or drawn that.

    In point of fact, the art seems to be quite literally images of female anatomy rather than of a female:

    The drawings include what appear to be images of the female vulva, illustrated by circles with small slits on one side. “You see this again and again and again,” Dr. White said.

    For real this time -- here you go:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/20...01119663SI.pdf
    Last edited by Lewis; 05-22-2012 at 02:24 PM.

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    And the images that predominate at that Abri Castanet site are those of female genitalia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legbiter View Post
    And the images that predominate at that Abri Castanet site are those of female genitalia.
    That's the interpretation.

    But of course, they're basically circles each with a line across. In fig. 57 (see linked PDF) the line extends quite a long way. Hmmm ... ??? Can we be really sure what's intended?

    There's an amusing story. Apparently, some researchers examined a shape cut into a rock face and concluded it represented the female pudenda. Later on another group of researchers looked at the same sculpted form and declared it represented the male genitals. Afterwards someone else looked at the carving yet again, reviewed the previous interpretations, said it could represent almost anything, pointed out that first group was male and the second female, and suggested that archaeologists were sex-obsessed and each group had seen the parts it was most interested in ...

    It might be worth adding that even if the incised forms do represent vulvas the New York Times might be hasty in appending the headline "A Precursor to Playboy: Graphic Images in Rock" to them. It's jumping to conclusions, and maybe their significance is not so much sexual as to do with birth.

    For example, the wall itself might be seen as giving birth to spirit animals. The ethnographic parallels -- some accounts from North America in the early post-contact period and of the Bushmen -- together with some other considerations, suggest that cave paintings have connections with altered states of consciousness, trance. OK, we're not dealing with paintings here. But one suggestion is that if you're sitting in a cave in trance you'd see images against the wall, and perhaps it might seem to you that the cave wall was "giving birth" to spirit animals.

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    Recently watched Werner Herzog's doc on the paintings of Chauvet, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams". It was amazing!!!! I was expecting stick figures or something and was amazed with the animal depictions, varying amounts of contrast, representations of animals in motion. Really incredible stuff. Very compelling.
    "I did it for money and for a woman. I didn't get the money, and I didn't get the woman"

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    wall stickers

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