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Unformatted text preview: motivating hunters. It is conceivable that before going hunting the hunters would draw or study pictures of animals and imagine a successful hunt. Considerable support exists for this opinion because several animals in the pictures are wounded by arrows and spears. This opinion also attempts to solve the overpainting by explaining that an animal’s picture had no further use after the hunt.
A third opinion takes psychological motivation much further into the realm of tribal ceremonies and mystery: the belief that certain animals assumed mythical significance as ancient ancestors or protectors of a given tribe or clan. Two types of images substantiate this theory: the strange, indecipherable geometric shapes that appear near some animals, and the few drawings of men. Wherever men appear they are crudely drawn and their bodies are elongated and rigid. Some men are in a prone position and some have bird or animal heads. Advocates for this opinion point to reports from people who have experienced a trance state, a highly suggestive state of low consciousness between waking and sleeping. Uniformly, these people experienced weightlessness and the sensation that their bodies were being stretched lengthwise. Advocates also point to people who believe that the forces of nature are inhabited by spirits, particularly shamans* who believe that an animal’s spirit and energy is transferred to them while in a trance. One Lascaux narrative picture, which shows a man with a birdlike head and a wounded animal, would seem to lend credence to this third opinion, but there is still much that remains unexplained. For example, where is the proof that the man in the picture is a shaman? He could as easily be a hunter wearing a headmask. Many tribal hunters, including some Native Americans, camouflaged themselves by wearing animal heads and hides.
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Perhaps so much time has passed that there will never be satisfactory answers to the cave images, but their mystique only adds to their importance. Certainly a great art exists, and by its existence reveals that ancient human beings were not without intelligence, skill, and sensitivity.
Shamans: holy people who act as healers and diviners Paragraph 1 In Southwest France in the 1940’s, playing children discovered Lascaux Grotto, a series of narrow cave chambers that contain huge prehistoric paintings of animals. Many of these beasts are as large as 16 feet (almost 5 meters). Some follow each other in solemn parades, but others swirl about, sideways and upside down. The animals are bulls, wild horses, reindeer, bison, and mammoths outlined with charcoal and painted mostly in reds, yellow, and browns. Scientific analysis reveals that the colors were derived from ocher and other iron oxides ground into a fine powder. Methods of applying color varied: some colors were brushed or smeared on rock surfaces...
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- Fall '13