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Ice Age Lion Man is world’s earliest figurative sculpture

February 4 2013 at 8:03 AM

White Devil  (Login ingenting)
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Vara
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Re: Ice Age Lion Man is world’s earliest figurative sculpture

February 4 2013, 8:34 PM 

Ice Age Lion Man is worlds earliest figurative sculpture
Work carved from mammoth ivory has been redated and 1,000 new fragments discoveredbut it wont make it to British Museum show

By Martin Bailey. Web only
Published online: 31 January 2013

lion-man-ulm.jpg
40,000 years old: Lion Man sculpture. Photo: Thomas Stephan, © Ulmer Museum

The star exhibit initially promised for the British Museums Ice Age Art show will not be comingbut for a good reason. New pieces of Ulms Lion Man sculpture have been discovered and it has been found to be much older than originally thought, at around 40,000 years. This makes it the worlds earliest figurative sculpture. At the London exhibition, which opens on 7 February, a replica from the Ulm Museum will instead go on display.

The story of the discovery of the Lion Man goes back to August 1939, when fragments of mammoth ivory were excavated at the back of the Stadel Cave in the Swabian Alps, south-west Germany. This was a few days before the outbreak of the Second World War. When it was eventually reassembled in 1970, it was regarded as a standing bear or big cat, but with human characteristics.

The ivory from which the figure had been carved had broken into myriad fragments. When first reconstructed, around 200 pieces were incorporated into the 30cm-tall sculpture, with about 30% of its volume missing.

Further fragments were later found among the previously excavated material and these were added to the figure in 1989. At this point, the sculpture was recognised as representing a lion. Most specialists have regarded it as male, although paleontologist Elisabeth Schmid controversially argued that it was female, suggesting that early society might have been matriarchal.

The latest news is that almost 1,000 further fragments of the statue have been found, following recent excavations in the Stadel Cave by Claus-Joachim Kind. Most of these are minute, but a few are several centimetres long. Some of the larger pieces are now being reintegrated into the figure.

Conservators have removed the 20th-century glue and filler from the 1989 reconstruction, and are now painstakingly reassembling the Lion Man, using computer-imaging techniques. It is an enormous 3D puzzle, says the British Museum curator Jill Cook.

The new reconstruction will give a much better idea of the original. In particular, the back of the neck will be more accurate, the right arm will be more complete and the figure will be a few centimetres taller.

An imaginative sculptor

Even more exciting than the discovery of new pieces, the sculptures 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 lionbut 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 Museums 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.



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"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell." Buddha



 
 

Vara
(Login varangian)

Re: Ice Age Lion Man is world’s earliest figurative sculpture

February 5 2013, 11:15 AM 

Geez this lion man looks too good of a carving to have been made 40,000 years ago by a dude in a loin cloth, using nothing more than primitive tools and a simplistic imagination.. why didn't he carve just a lion? why did he have to make it look like a half man beast.. very Egyptian if you ask me..

lion-man-ulm.jpg
40,000 years old: Lion Man



==========================================
"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell." Buddha



 
 

White Devil
(Login ingenting)
WAFFer

Ex Nihilo

February 5 2013, 4:28 PM 

Europe had Lions back then , and must been a powerfull totem too , cince some one did a sculpture like that.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/05/0519_050519_mladecbones.html

 
 

Vara
(Login varangian)

Re: Ice Age Lion Man is world’s earliest figurative sculpture

February 5 2013, 9:06 PM 

WD.. big cats like the lion and leopards were still to be found in northern Greece around two and a half thousand years ago too, as reflected in Greek art depicting hunting scenes.. still, a very good carving and very life like too..

==========================================
"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell." Buddha



 
 
Taygibay
(Login 1RCHMDL84)

Re: Ice Age Lion Man is world’s earliest figurative sculpture

February 6 2013, 12:52 AM 

Nice post this once; thnx ingenting
Tay.

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