Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mammoth art

Martin at Dumluks pointed this cutie out to me.

The German magazine Der Spiegel describes it:
Archaeologists at the University of Tübingen have recovered the first entirely intact woolly mammoth figurine from the Swabian Jura, a plateau in the state of Baden-Württemberg, thought to have been made by the first modern humans some 35,000 years ago. It is believed to be the oldest ivory carving ever found....

In total, five mammoth-ivory figurines from the Ice Age were newly discovered at the site of the Vogelherd Cave in southwestern Germany, a site known to contain primitive artefacts since it was excavated in 1931 by the Tübingen archaeologist Gustav Reik.


The figure of the woolly mammoth is tiny, measuring just 3.7 cm long and weighing a mere 7.5 grams, and displays skilfully detailed carvings. It is unique in its slim form, pointed tail, powerful legs and dynamically arched trunk. It is decorated with six short incisions, and the soles of the pachyderm's feet show a crosshatch pattern.

Some of the oldest movable art found in Europe and Northern Asia is in the form carvings of mammoth ivory. The fist artists lived ivory for the same reasons modern carvers do; it's easy to work, attractive, and has a wonderful finish that is both shiny and warm.

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