Stepping-Stones: A Journey through the Ice Age Caves of the Dordogne

By Christine Desdemaines-Hugon

Targeting 5 websites, this booklet unearths remarkable similarities among paintings types of the Paleolithic and works of contemporary artists and offers us a different pathway towards realizing the tradition of the Dordogne Paleolithic peoples and the way it nonetheless touches our lives at the present time.

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An extended, spacious corridor opens up, a few meters huge yet 12 meters excessive, with work on 4 degrees, from the floor to approximately five meters above. a few type of scaffolding should have been outfitted to wake up to the better degrees, that are differently inaccessible. For this, wooden should have been introduced in at nice attempt, proving, if desire be, how vital the work have been and the way powerful the motivation should have been to create them. The excessive ceiling indicates how the cave used to be in the beginning formed: in contrast to those who have been sculpted via underground rivers, this one was once formed through water seeping via an open vertical fissure over thousands of years, progressively dissolving the limestone on its means. at the right-hand facet, at eye point, is the 1st sequence of 12 huge bison, 6 of that are lit up for viewers, all yet one dealing with to definitely the right, towards the doorway. they're fantastically tailored to the common shapes of the rock yet are a bit light, worn down through a long time of curious viewers, area people, together with adventurous young children, feeling their manner via. beginning on the a long way left, we will see that the 1st bison is the main significant, approximately 1. 35 meters lengthy and predominantly purple, its exaggerated humped again line magnified through a sticking out stone ridge and strongly defined in black. the second one, in smooth colours of brown, is much more heavily adjusted to the limestone shapes, in this type of approach that the again line, stomach, hind leg, haunch, and entrance shoulder are all in normal aid, but in ideal anatomical correspondence. The 3rd is crimson and faces the second one: they're nose to nose, no longer relatively touching, status peacefully, to pass judgement on through their lifted heads and lank tails. We’ll be seeing extra such pairs of dealing with animals with diverse shades: one black or brown, the opposite all pink, no matter what this could suggest. The sexually outlined men take place to be in browns; might the colour pink were reserved for ladies? Depictions of animals dealing with each other peacefully are universal within the caves, and obviously those “meetings,” as I see them, represent a recurrent, major subject. The representation of any type of aggression is phenomenal, the infrequent current claimed examples being, for my part, arguable. In previous Font de Gaume 15 interpretations, animals dealing with each other have been outlined as “fighting. ” This corresponded to the preferred photo of “primitive guy. ” A extra clinical method, considering many of the animals’ morphology and attitudes, equivalent to the tail and horns of the bison right here, has due to the fact that resulted in a extra target photograph. however, regardless of the variety of well known blunders, biased interpretations of an analogous order proceed. some of the most impressive examples, usually known as one of many infrequent exceptions, is a scene of 2 “fighting” woolly rhinoceroses within the lately chanced on Chauvet cave (France), the place the work date again to a few 32,000 years BP. I, too, intuitively interpreted the scene as such till I met an individual who knew African fauna good and provided a very diversified model.

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