Homo sapiens sapiens appeared on Earth as early as 120,000 years ago and are still existent in the present day. The earliest discovery of anatomically modern Homo sapiens sapiens (wise wise human) occurred in Africa, which connects Africa to the origin of their existence. “Unlike their predecessors, Homo sapiens sapiens developed forms of symbolic expression, apparently spiritual and cultural in nature, including burial rituals and artwork that is stunningly beautiful and creative. ” (Spodek 21) The element of expression has remained constant throughout the entire history of Homo sapiens sapiens in various forms of artwork.
Artwork is rare and disputed dating back before 35,000 B. P.. The artwork composed of beads, pendants and incised animal bones. A few of the earliest discoveries of art includes stylized ocher paintings of human beings, dated approximately 25,000 years ago in Tanzania; some figurines and wall paintings, from as early as 30,000 B. P. in Europe; and a series of rock paintings, dating back perhaps 20,000 B. P. in Australia. (Spodek 29) Early European artwork climaxes in approximately 17,000-12,000 B. C. E. which is known as the Magdalenian period.Order now
During this period many of the tools used were fashioned to be beautiful as well as practical. Figurines were created with delicately carved features such as the face and hair. These versions of portable art express a desire for beauty and to create and enjoy beautiful things. Other portable art neglects the face and personal features and instead focus on and exaggerate sexual organs and buttocks. These details support the theory that figurines were created as fertility charms rather than representations of beauty.
Cave painters primarily used ocher and other natural pigments to produce colors and shades of red, brown, yellow, and manganese oxides for black. European caves rarely depicted images of people; although, in many of these caves, outlines of human hands have been stenciled onto the walls. (Spodek 30) Large animals such as bison, deer, oxen, and horses were very common among European cave paintings. Mammoths, lions, fish, and even some fantasy creatures appear occasionally in these caves, also.
However it is not clear how these pigments were applied, but the most common guess is that they were chewed and either spat or blown through a pipe onto the walls. (Spodek 31) The meaning of these pre-historic cave paintings is not clear. The first popularly accepted interpretation was that the cave paintings were a type of blessing to bring good fortune to the hunters of the animals depicted in the painting. Another theory behind the paintings is that they were created to represent a hope for their fertility so that prey for the hunters may be abundant.
Lastly, a popular interpretation suggests that these caves were a meeting place which neighboring bands returned to annually to arrange marriages and political and social alliances. (Spodek 31) Most of the images in these caves are located deep within the cave. It is suggested that the art is not painted at the mouth in daily view of campsites, but it is deep inside the cave because they were not for decoration. As the paintings were believed to be links to ancient spirits which were sought in the dark depths of the cave through shamanistic rituals.
“The cave art and the portable art of 25,000-10,000 B. P. begin the known record of human aesthetic creation. For the first time we have examples of what humans reguarded as beautiful and therefore worth creating and preserving. From this time onward, the desire to create and appreciate beauty is part of the human story. The cave creations also give us insight into their creators’ search for meaning and purpose in life. Our art gives outward expression to our understanding of, and our deepest feelings about, our place in the world.
Through our art we attempt to connect with larger forces in the world and communicate with one another. ” (Spodek 32) Humans throughout history have been infatuated with beauty and creating beauty. The emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens is marked partly by the desire of symbolic expression. Perhaps it is one of the qualities of people that bring us so close together as a general population as we’ve always sought a connection between our emotions and the physical world. The most popular bridge between these two realms is that through art.
As artwork has since connected people to their emotions of physical beauty, good fortune, the spirit world, and the rush of the hunt. One of the oldest and most common depictions in art is the connection with the spirit world. These emotions of understanding life and various beliefs in an afterlife are surprisingly constant throughout all of history and artwork. Man-kind has had an infatuation with expressing these inner feelings of uncertainty, purpose, and emotion and has been continuous since pre-history into the present and will most likely remain part of human society until the end of life.