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APAH01 - Global Prehistory [BB, Chapter 1]

Terms in this set (11)

Artwork #2 Global Prehistory
Form: Rock Painting created by using plants, animal fats/oils, charcoal and even iron ore.

Function: The painting are believed to be part of a hunting magic and were therefore dubbed sympathetic paintings. It is suggested that prehistoric people believed that if they drew a successful hunt, it would bring good luck the next time the people hunted. However, other theories suggest that the paintings convey various stories of the many different groups of people that came to the cave. A picture containing a man with bird-like features also suggests that these people believed in shamans and their supernatural power.

Context: This painting was created in Paleolithic Europe at a time which surviving was the primary goal of the precursor species to man. However, not too much is known about these group of humans as they did not share a written language that is known. Complex societies such as cities and towns had yet to exist as people migrated frequently. Early people simply hunted for food and materials and moved with their food source.

Content: 650 paintings of various animals, but it primarily includes variations of bulls, horses, deer, and cows. The bodies are painted with a twisted perspective as can be seen based on the direction the head faces relative to the body of the animals.

Impact: The presence of these paintings also implies an inherent human need to communicate through pictures for any and all purposes. The paintings are also theorized to represent the human desire to leave something permanent on this earth

1) This artwork is a collection of various paintings on a wall, but were most likely painted by numerous early people throughout the years as they migrated from place to place.
2) The artwork suggests that humans had an innate desire to communicate in many mediums, including art.
3) The painting was mostly likely were a part of early people's hunting magic as this is the most popular and widely accepted theory.
Artwork #3 Global Prehistory
Camelid Sacrum in Canine Sculpture
Tequixquiac, Mexico
14,000-7,000 BC
FORM: Made from the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine, from a camel, and is carved to look to a skull similar to that of a dog or pig.

FUNCTION: This sculpture is made from the sacrum, which, to the Mesoamerican people, symbolizes fertility/reincarnation and is considered sacred. The artist's purpose for this sculpture was most likely ceremonial or decorative, but archaeologists still question if it was even made by humans.

CONTEXT: The people that lived in Central Mexico, where this piece was found, are thought to have made this piece to symbolize fertility and reincarnation because they used the sacrum, which is a bone located near reproductive organs. They may have used this piece for sympathetic magic- to increase the chances of fertility among flocks because it resembles an animal, or fertility for their people. It may have been used as a mask. During this time, the indigenous still ruled the area and the subject of a dog evokes the domestication of canines.

CONTENT: The sculpture is made from the sacrum of a camel with the engravings of two eye sockets and a muzzle-like mouth. This can be interpreted as a reference to hopeful fertility, because of the location of the sacrum in anatomy.

IMPACT: This sculpture shows how early on, people are interacting with their environment to send messages about what they hope for (fertility) and it influences the community to participate ceremonial practices. This influences other artists to make art out of common objects to create a metaphorical value.

1. Made from a camel's sacrum, representing fertility and reincarnation in the Mesoamerican culture.
2. Carved to resemble a dog's skull.
3. Most likely used as a mask for rituals, but it is still questioned if it was made by humans or by chance of nature.
Running Horned Woman
Tassili n'Ajjer, Algeria.
6000-4000 BCE.

FORM: Running horned woman is consists of painting on a smooth, rock shelter located within a group of mountains known as the Aouanrhetmassif.

FUNCTION: The artist's intended purpose is something that is speculative. It has been suggested that it is not a literal depiction; rather, one that is symbolic. It is unlikely hunters dressed as the woman, so it is possible she is representative of a higher power due to her size as features.

CONTENT: Possible theories suggests the artwork was conveying ritual or religion. Because of her size and garb, the horned woman is possibly representative of a goddess. She is surrounded by falling grain, indicating she may have been the goddess of agriculture or was influenced by the Egyptian goddess Isis. Her horns represent her shamanistic features.

CONTEXT: Running horned woman was found with about 15,000 human figure and animal paintings and engravings in what has been remarked to be "the greatest center of prehistoric art in the world". Possibly acted as shelters


IMPACT: Like much of the other artwork in this period, the painting features an anthropomorphic figure, representing the tie between human and animal and the supernatural. The focal point is the horned woman, which emphasized in the characteristic ways of this time period such as size.

MEANING-MESSAGE INTENT: This is speculative due to the lack of written language, but the woman is theorized to be a shaman/goddess [of agriculture].

The horned woman is likely to have spiritual powers as she is a sort of anthropomorphic shaman or goddess.
The woman's markings and grains falling beside her might be representative of her tie to agriculture.
Due to the practice of moistening the painting with sponges to reveal them, the pigments and colors have faded and the running horned woman has disappeared.
Artwork #9 Global Prehistory
TITLE: The Ambum Stone

LOCATION: Ambum Valley, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea

DATE: 1500 B.C.E

FORM: Made of greywacke (a dark coarse-grained sandstone), by chipping and hammering the stone. It is a composite of human/animal like figure, possibly representing an anteater and human (mixed form).

CONTENT: The animal/human, anteater- like -creature has a long nose and the nose tip resembles that of fruit bat. The creature has eyes on the face where the nose starts to bend. It has many zoomorphic features. Its arms are folded on the structure as if it is meant to hold something.

CONTEXT: It was found with a hundred other stone objects and is one of the earliest known Pacific works of art. At that time, mortar and grinders in the region were crafted in the form of birds, humans, and animals, but the Ambum Stone can be considered unique because of its figurative qualities.

FUNCTION: There are many theories related to function. It might be depicting an embryo of the long- beaked echidna (spiny anteater) in the fetal position. It is thought that anteaters were significant because of their fats deposits before pigs existed. It could also be depicting a masked human. It also could have been considered sacred and used for rituals.

IMPACT: It is considered sacred with supernatural powers by the people in the region today. They use this artwork and other such pieces as spirit stones in sorcery and other rituals.

MEANING-MESSAGE-INTENT: There is no definite answer about the intent because there are no written records from this time period. There are various interpretations as mentioned above.

3 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW:
1. Having both human and animal like characteristics, it possibly represents an anteater.
2. It has zoomorphic characteristics and figurative qualities that sets it apart from the rest of the ancient stones found from the region.
3. It is used in the region today as a spirit stone for sorcery and rituals.

Flickr Creative Commons Images

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