Philippine-arts.docx - Introduction to Prehistoric Art...

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Introduction to Prehistoric Art Types Archeologists have identified 4 basic types of Stone Age art , as follows: petroglyphs (cupules, rock carvings and engravings); pictographs (pictorial imagery, ideomorphs, ideograms or symbols), a category that includes cave painting and drawing; and prehistoric sculpture (including small totemic statuettes known as Venus Figurines , various forms of zoomorphic and therianthropic ivory carving , and relief sculptures); and megalithic art (petroforms or any other works associated with arrangements of stones). Artworks that are applied to an immoveable rock surface are classified as parietal art ; works that are portable are classified as mobiliary art . Characteristics The earliest forms of prehistoric art are extremely primitive. The cupule, for instance - a mysterious type of Paleolithic cultural marking - amounts to no more than a hemispherical or cup-like scouring of the rock surface. The early sculptures known as the Venuses of Tan-Tan and Berekhat Ram , are such crude representations of humanoid shapes that some experts doubt whether they are works of art at all. It is not until the Upper Paleolithic (from roughly 40,000 BCE onwards) that anatomically modern man produces recognizable carvings and pictures. Aurignacian culture, in particular, witnesses an explosion of rock art, including the El Castillo cave paintings , the monochrome cave murals at Chauvet, the Lion Man of Hohlenstein- Stadel , the Venus of Hohle Fels , the animal carvings of the Swabian Jura, Aboriginal rock art from Australia, and much more. The later Gravettian and Magdalenian cultures gave birth to even more sophisticated versions of prehistoric art, notably the polychrome Dappled Horses of Pech-Merle and the sensational cave paintings at Lascaux and Altamira. Dating and Chronology of Prehistoric Art A number of highly sophisticated techniques - such as radiometric testing, Uranium/Thorium dating and thermoluminescence - are now available to help establish the date of ancient artifacts from the Paleolithic era and later. However, dating of ancient art is not an exact science, and results are often dependent on tests performed on the 'layer' of earth and debris in which the artifact was lying, or - in the case of rock engraving - an analysis of the content and style of the markings. (Animal drawings using regular side-profiles, for instance, are typically older than those using three-quarter profiles.) For a
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chronological list of dates and events associated with Stone Age culture, see: Prehistoric Art Timeline . In prehistoric art , the term "cave painting" encompasses any parietal art which involves the application of colour pigments on the walls, floors or ceilings of ancient rock shelters. A monochrome cave painting is a picture made with only one colour (usually black) - see, for instance, the monochrome images at Chauvet. A polychrome cave painting consists of two or more colours, as exemplified by the glorious multi-coloured images of bison on the ceiling at Altamira, or the magnificent aurochs in the Chamber of the Bulls at Lascaux. In contrast, the
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