Cave Art Essay

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Cave Paintings have been dated back 30,000 years ago, during a time called the Upper Paleolithic Period where homo-sapiens began to express themselves through rock art and drawings on the walls throughout caves in mostly France and Africa. The process of the art being made was resulted from rocks being ground up to make pigments which were often first engraved into the cave walls or painted directly on them in black and ochre colors. There is no absolute reason behind these cave paintings, but scientist have thought of theories behind the talented artists work. The main three categories that have been studied are animal drawings, shamanism, and human paintings; all of which give reason to a new evolution of the human mind and how the meaning behind the cave art can be an insightful look at what homo-sapiens experienced thousands of years ago.
One hypothesis behind the meaning of cave art is that is was a ritual meant to bring good luck to the hunt. During the Paleolithic period many paintings of animals such as bison, deer, cattle, horses, mammoths, bears, and reindeer were cascaded across the walls of caves along with geometric shapes. Although the meaning behind the geometric shapes is still unclear, the animal drawings could be seen as a symbol of what homo-sapiens hunted and this desire for food could have driven the imagination to create art within the caves. Possibly the animals that had been killed were painted in honor of their sacrifice, or perhaps they were painted on account of a successful hunt as a way of remembering their good fortune. This could possibly be their way of keeping a journal or a record of the animals that had been killed or seen but not hunted. The theory of the painting bringing the hunters good fortune is known as “sympathetic magic” an idea of a charm or good luck omen that is brought upon the hunters during their time of need for food and survival. This development of a “symbolic life” was also a major step in the evolution process for humans. It was the minds “big bang” so to speak, where the creative and conscious efforts collide into one some 50,000 years ago. The idea that rock art was just art as a means to be creative is known as Totemism, and was used as a way to connect spiritually with the subject being created. During the Paleolithic period homo-sapiens were very in touch with the spirit world and their spiritually, this theory is known as shamanism.
Shamanism is the concept of two or more worlds coexisting and interacting and influencing one another. Certain people have the ability to directly control this relationship between the worlds as a practice to accomplish certain tasks such as cure the sick, restore harmony, reclaim a soul, hunting purposes, look into the future, or cast spells. The cave where this interaction takes place plays a role in the shamans work, caves were seen as a supernatural world in which spirits and the undead could exist. While performing these practices the shaman will...

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