Lowry Park Zoo ~ Tampa ~ Florida ~ USA
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In simple terms Caveman Art is Primitive Art, it is the earliest form of artwork known to mankind.
When early man first tried to express his artistic talents, he used a piece of stone to scratch his drawings on the walls of his cave. Later as he discovered different color pigments, he applied them with his fingers to add color to his artwork. As time went by he invented the brush, which initially had its bristles made of animal hair or fur and he used it as tool to apply paint.
The beauty of caveman art is that the pictures depicted were very simple, they usually portray animals, birds, plants, things, and humans, sometimes hunting scenes. The drawings were very simplified to the extent that in certain cases they were not outline art but rather line art, (i.e. reducing the whole picture to the minimum essential strokes of curves and straight lines that represent that particular figure that was drawn).
Here is what the “Collins Dictionary of Archaeology” (1992) edited by Paul Bahn, says:
“The art of the last Ice Age that is usually divided into three groups: (a) portable or mobiliary art, comprising a wide variety of forms, from engraved stones to carvings in antler or ivory. Thousands of such pieces are known from Spain and Siberia; (b) deep engravings or bas-reliefs on large blocks of stone, known from southwest France; © cave-art or parietal art, known primarily in Spain, France and Italy. It includes a range of techniques from finger-markings and engravings to bas-relief sculpture, and painting. It comprises animal figures (mostly adults drawn in profile, and dominated by horse and bison), much rare anthropomorphs, and abundant non-figurative motifs and ‘signs’. Some is on open view, but much is hidden or inaccessible. Some engravings of the period have recently been found on rocks in the open air. Art in Europe appears early in the Upper Palaeolithic, and becomes abundant in the Solutrean and especially Magdalenian periods. Art of similar antiquity is also known on other continents. Much of the European art appears linked to a complex mythology and incorporates a distinct set of rules: early interpretations such as ‘art for art’s sake’ or hunting magic are now recognized as far too simplistic.”
The “Atlas of Languages” (1996) of cave art states: “Language in its modern form had probably appeared by about 40,000 years ago when Paleolithic society was transformed by unprecedented developments in both technology and culture. New tools and technology allowed Stone Age hunters to colonize and settle remote regions. At the same time, the extraordinary florescence of cave art, illustrated by a 14,000 year-old bison drawing from Altamira cave in southern Spain, demonstrates a significant development in both perception and communication.”
“The Atlas of Ancient Archaeology” (1974) has an entry on Lascaux cave in France: “The purpose of the animal paintings is, perhaps, more obscure today than when the first cave paintings were recognized. The most generally accepted explanation is that the paintings formed part of a rite of sympathetic magic and that their creation ensured the continuance of a plentiful food supply in the form of the favorite game animals of the Palaeolithic hunters.”
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