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Stone Age artists were obsessed with horses and we don’t know why


Scientist

Stone Age artists were obsessed with horses and we don’t know why

Environment 15 November 2019 By Colin Barras A replica of a Lascaux cave paintingPHILIPPE PSAILA/SCIENCE PHOTOStone Age occupants of Europe had a strange fixation on horses. Almost one in every three animals they depicted on cave walls was a horse and the images are often larger and occupy more prominent positions than those of other…

Stone Age artists were obsessed with horses and we don’t know why


Environment



15 November 2019

By Colin Barras

Lascaux II replica of a Lascaux cave painting. These are horse and cow figures in the central gallery. The original Lascaux cave was closed to the public in 1963. The full-scale Lascaux II replica opened nearby in 1983. The Lascaux cave paintings in south-western France, around 17,000 years old, were painted by Cro-Magnon man, an early European culture of modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens), using red, brown and yellow ochre, and black manganese dioxide. They may have had religious and artistic significance. Photographed in 2010.

A replica of a Lascaux cave painting

PHILIPPE PSAILA/SCIENCE PHOTO

Stone Age occupants of Europe had a strange fixation on horses. Almost one in every three animals they depicted on cave walls was a horse and the images are often larger and occupy more prominent positions than those of other animals. However, why the horse loomed so large in ancient minds may remain forever a mystery.

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Since the 1990s, Georges Sauvet at the University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France, has been compiling a database of European Stone Age (or Palaeolithic) art. Today that database contains information on more than 4700 drawings, …

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