Inferences from Cave Paintings

A simple artistic message can cause you to draw so many conclusions.

I just read a fascinating article entitled, “World’s oldest known cave painting found in Indonesia”. It’s a life-sized depiction of a pig, and I have to say it’s really well done. I couldn’t do that well, even with the benefit of art classes. You can see the hair on it’s neck, the ears, and the warty horns. It’s really impressive.

Also impressive is the audacity of the scientists who claimed to have discovered it, when it was known to the locals all along. It’s funny how something doesn’t become authentic until a Westerner has planted his or her figurative flag on it.

So, the pig painting is in a cave on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. You can see that there were two other pigs depicted nearby, but sadly those paintings did not survive intact to the present day. A calcite deposit over the top of the intact one has been dated to 45,500 years ago. The painting itself might be much older. So one can infer that (surprise!!!!) humans are more than 4,000 years old after all. (I always kind of feel sorry for those who stubbornly hold on to that belief, because they are forced to discount so many amazing discoveries, and their world is much smaller as a result.)

The thing that interests me most about this work of art is the two human hand prints above the pig’s flank. As long as there has been art, people have been “signing” their work, it seems. We’ve always had pride. We’ve always liked to say, “I did this.” And even more exciting, since the artist would have had to have spat pigment over his hand to get this imprint, scientists are trying to obtain DNA from the sample.

I hope they succeed, and that we’re all linked as possible relatives on I’m always pleased to have an artist in the family. Welcome!

Enjoy my random musings? Then you’ll love my book!


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

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