Stone Age artists created a variety of figurative and abstract images. The naturalistic picture mostly depicted hunting scenes, or arrangements of animals – usually bison, horses, reindeer, cattle, aurochs and mammoths, although a wide variety of other creatures were depicted, such as: lions, musk ox, ass, saga, chamois, wolf , fox, hare, otter, hyena, seals, fish, reptiles, birds and other creatures also appear. Abstract imagery was also common.
Paleolithic murals frequently contain a variety tot dots, lines, signs and symbols (demimonde’s), together with a mixture of isomorphism, anthropomorphic and polymorph The most common themes in cave paintings are large wild animals and racing’s of human hands as well as abstract patterns called finger flutings, Drawing of humans were rare and usually schematic rather than the more naturalistic animal subjects, One explanation for this is that that realistically painting the human form was forbidden by a powerful taboo.
What rock art means and why the ancients practiced it has been a bane of contention amongst scholars since the phenomena started to be studies. Some have argued that such images are records of hunts that served not only to inventory the amount Of animals killed as future references for animal migrating patterns. Henry Bureau interpreted the paintings as being hunting magic, meant to increase the number of animals.
As there are some clay sculptures that seem to have been the targets Of spears, this may be true, but does not explain the pictures Of predators such as the lion or the bear. An alternative theory. Developed by David Lewis- Williams and broadly based on ethnographic studies of contemporary hunter. Gatherer societies, is that the paintings were made by Crop-Mignon shamans. The shaman would retreat into darkness of the caves, enter into a trance state ND then paint images of their visions, perhaps with some notion of drawing power out of the cave walls themselves.
This goes some way toward explaining the remoteness of some of the paintings (which occur in deep or small caves) and the variety of subject matter (from prey animals to predators and human hand-prints), gut this theory, without proofs, is thrown back by the specialists tot prehistory and shamanism. R. Dale Guthrie has studies not only the most artistic and publicized paintings but also a variety lower quality art and figurines, and he identifies a wide range of skill and ages among the artist.
He also points UT that the main theme in the paintings and other artifacts (powerful beast, risky hunting scenes and the representation of oven in the Venus figurines) are to be expected in the fantasies of adolescent males, who made a big part of human population at the time. However in analyzing hand-prints and stencils in French and Spanish caves, Dean Snow Of Pennsylvania State University has shown that proportion of them including those around the spotted horses in Peach Merle, were Of female hands.
We don’t know exactly. As With all prehistory, it is impossible to be certain because of the relative lack of material evidence and the many pitfalls associated With trying to understand the prehistoric mindset. Initially, most pale anthropologists thought that this type of ancient art was purely decorative. However, detailed archeological evidence shows that painted caves were only temporarily inhabited by upper Paleolithic man and their presence was purely associated with cave art activities.
As a result, it is now thought cave painting was created by shamans for ceremonial reasons-perhaps in connection with social, supernatural or religious rituals. There is no clear pattern in the iconography used, so at present most theories s to the precise meaning or function and charcoal drawings. Of Stone Age cave paintings are mere guess work. Cave paintings are a form of Rock art, falling under the category of pictograph, or the application of pigment to a rock surface.
Survival of ancient Gave paintings is attributable to use of mineral pigments, The best preserved pictograph is found under sheltering overhangs and in caves. The simplest pictograph are wet clay finger paintings and charcoal drawings. To produce crayons or paints first the minerals had to be finely ground and combined with binding materials. Stone Age painters employed several different combinations of materials to make colored paints. Clay ochre provided three basic colors: numerous Varieties Of red, plus yellow and brown.
Poor black color artist used either manganese dioxide or charcoal. After grinding the pigments to fine powder, artists mixed the powder With (typically high in calcium carbonate) animal fats, vegetable juices, blood and urine to help stick to the rock surface. They also used extenders like biotic and feldspar, or ground quartz and calcium phosphate (obtained from crushed. Heated animal bone). Using sea- shells as paint containers and working by candlelight, Stone Age artist employed a wide variety of painting methods.
Initially, they painted with their fingers; before switching to lumpy pigment crayons, pads of moss, or brushes made from of animal hair or vegetable fiber. They even employed spray painting techniques using reed or specially hollowed bones. Each era introduced new cave painting methods, and caves decorated over many generations exhibit numerous styles at Lascar for instance archaeologists have identified over a dozen different painting styles.