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Lion Man is world’s earliest figurative sculpture


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Author Topic: Lion Man is world’s earliest figurative sculpture  (Read 122 times)
Danielle Gorree
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« on: February 03, 2013, 03:21:21 pm »

Ice Age sculptor

Even more exciting than the discovery of new pieces, the sculpture’s age has been refined using radio-carbon dating of other bones found in the strata. This reveals a date of 40,000 years ago, while until recently it was thought to be 32,000 years old. Once reconstruction is completed, several tiny, unused fragments of the mammoth ivory are likely to be carbon dated, and this is expected to confirm the result.

This revised dating pushes the Lion Man right back to the oldest sculptures, which have been found in two other caves in the Swabian Alps. These rare finds are dated at 35,000 to 40,000 years, but the Lion Man is by far the largest and most complex piece. A few carved items have been found in other regions which are slightly older, but these have simple patterns, not figuration.

What was striking about the sculptor of the Lion Man sculptor is that he or she had a mind capable of imagination rather than simply representing real forms. As Cook says, it is “not necessary to have a brain with a complex pre-frontal cortex to form the mental image of a human or a lion—but it is to make the figure of a lion-man”. The Ulm sculpture therefore sheds further light on the evolution of homo sapiens.

Conservators experimented by making a replica of Lion Man, calculating that it would take a highly skilled carver at least 400 hours using flint tools (two months’ work in daylight). This means that the carver would have had to be looked after by hunter-gatherers, which presupposes a degree of social organisation. There is an ongoing debate on what the Lion Man represents, and whether it is linked to shamanism and the spirit world.

Initially, it was hoped that the original of the Lion Manwould be presented at the British Museum’s exhibition, but this has not proved possible because conservators need further time to get the figure reconstructed as accurately as possible. The Ulm Museum now plans to unveil it in November.

"Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind", British Museum, London, 7 February-26 May and “The Return of the Lion Man: History, Myth, Magic”, 16 November-9 June 2014, Ulmer Museum, Ulm.

http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Ice-Age-iLion-Mani-is-worlds-earliest-figurative-sculpture/28595
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 03:23:29 pm by Danielle Gorree » Report Spam   Logged


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