Animal Influences In Paleolithic Egyptian And Greek

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Animal Influences In Paleolithic, Egyptian And Greek, Essay, Research Paper Animal Influences in Paleolithic, Egyptian and Greek Art There are numerous ways in which animals have resonated within the human mind. Throughout history there have been representations ranging from the realistic, to myths, legends, symbols, and even horrific murderous beasts; at the same time providing fascinating perspectives of our own humanity. Various forms of art have conveyed ideas and concepts of animal’s intelligence, as well as behavior, from generation to generation. Animal art is used as a tool to make the connection between different cultures at different time periods and it relates historical and symbolic meanings. In most cultures animals have been linked with the supernatural forces

which were believed to control the natural world and the destiny of humans. They were often revered as the agents. or associates, of gods, and goddesses, and were even the focus of worship as deities. Following the tracks of historical animal art, through the human imagination introduces a trail of creativity and unsurpassed beauty. Paleolithic art: Cave paintings are the earliest known example of human art dating 40,000 to 8,000 BCE. The paintings mainly feature various animals running, sleeping, and eating. Some also contain a few humans, geometrical shapes, and even hand prints. The artist used permanent features like ceilings, floors, and walls of rock shelters and caves as their canvas. Pigments of black, yellow, red, and brown were utilized to display the observations of

animals. The painters gathered a great deal of information about finding food, and which foods were safe to eat or to hunt, by closely observing animals. The valuable information was passed to others through the detailes in the artwork. The construction of the figures are sporadic over uneven surfaces and small confined areas in the caves. Paintings in this position would have been difficult to view, and may not be simple decorations, but possess a special or spiritual purpose. Researchers, “took what they thought were the most important features of the content of Paleolithic art (the animals, the arrows. etc.) and stressing the locality of the art (deep done in caves far from habitation) inferred a secret magical function.”1 The paintings depict strong, dangerous, and swift

animals which may be a form of sympathetic magic, in an attempt to control them through representation.(fig. 1) Many paintings have marks indicating wounds or bleeding, which may be connected with hunting. One theory is that prehistoric hunters believed that by depicting the animal on the wall they would capture it’s soul, and inevitable death during the hunt. However there has also been evidence “that the animals used most frequently for food were not the ones traditionally portrayed in cave art.”2 The paintings reflect the human relationship with animals; for admiration, fascination, the feared and the hunted. Reasearchers have divided the animals into three major groups. “The first comprises the large herbivores-bison, ox, mammoth, horse; the second, the small

herbivores-stag and ibex; and the third, the most dangerous animals-lion, bear and rhinoceros, all of which occur by themselves in the rear portions of the caves.”3(fig. 2) Smaller animals such as rabbits were not painted, perhaps because they were very abundant. The reason for the paintings will never be fully answered. They may be part of rituals marking a successful hunt or maybe it is ‘art for art’s sake.’ Andre Leroi-Gourhan feels, “By this route alone, thoughts of these men who are the only people anywhere in the world, at any epoch, to have sheltered their works of art in the dank depths of caves.”4 Egyptian art Egyptians and animals (3150 to 2700 BCE) together symbolize many mysterious and magical powers. Marilyn Stockstad states, “The many god and goddesses