Confused by what those pictures have to do with one another? Read on…
Some cave drawings, like those found in France’s Chauvet Cave at top, show animals drawn using sequential pieces that suggest movement. A horse’s head drawn in three parts, drooping toward the ground, or a multi-legged running deer. When they are looped back, as in the following video by archaeologist Marc Azéma, the use of moving pictures as a storytelling technique becomes more clear:
But just how would these ancient peoples make the pictures move? Flickering light like that from a torch can give the illusion of motion, readily within their technological know-how.
But perhaps most interestingly, round bone “pendants” dating from this era have been found that resemble thaumatropes, spinning discs that create a two-frame scene that were popular in Victorian times (an example in the bottom picture above).
More about these early “animators” at Discovery News.
Posts tagged cave painting.
September 12, 1940: The Lascaux cave paintings are discovered.
The discoverers of the celebrated Paleolithic cave paintings were four teenagers, who had stumbled upon the site while searching for their lost dog. Located in southwestern France, the Lascaux cave system was first studied by and introduced to the public by archaeologist-priest Henri Breuil. It was opened to the public in 1948, but it closed once more in 1963 in order to help preserve the paintings.
Nearly 2,000 illustrations, of animals (stags, bison, cattle), humans, and other, more abstract designs, can be found in the Lascaux caves; these illustrations are some of the oldest examples of any sort of high-quality, complex art, estimated to be anywhere from 13,000 to 25,000 years old. These paintings are divided into several sections, including a “Great Hall of the Bulls”, which contains some of the cave’s most famous pieces - black aurochs, one of them measuring over seventeen feet across. Other sections include a “Chamber of Felines”, and “the Shaft of the Dead Man”. The purpose of these paintings remains obscure - perhaps the caves were regarded as sacred places, where special rites were performed, or maybe our prehistoric ancestors really, really liked painting animals.
Paintings on cave walls in Spain are far older than previously thought.
From National Geographic Photo Of The Day; January 27, 2012:
Cave Painting, Papua New Guinea Amy Toensing, National Geographic
For generations people in the region have marked cave walls with stenciled handprints. These prints were made with clay-based paint, but in other caves, crimson stains tell the story of a bloody initiation ritual for young men.