LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:34 pm

The Hall of the Bulls, Part 1

Taking into account the morphology, the texture of the lithic support and the works of art themselves (mainly paintings and drawings), the walls of the Hall of the Bulls can be subdivided into three superimposed levels. Only the middle section is decorated. This long panel, following a horseshoe-shaped trajectory, circles the entire hall between the ledge at its base and the ridge marking the beginning of the upper panel. Its width increases from 1 metre at the entrance to 4 metres at the back of the hall, and its inclination gradually becomes mote pronounced, reaching an angle of 70° (relative to the vertical) at its most developed. The decorated surface gradually turns into a ceiling formation, although this is difficult to capture in a photograph. When you look at the scene as a whole, however, the animals depicted at this angle are clearly distorted. Only by standing at the base of each figure can you see their true shape. A carbonate crust covers the entire rock surface. The uniformity of this covering is only disturbed at a few points, where scars have been left by flaking and corrosion.

The iconography of the Hall of the Bulls extends from the Unicorn - or, more precisely, from the black head and neck of the equid located on the left wall immediately after the entrance (ill. 45) - to that of the sixth bull on the opposite wall (ill. 46). The decoration is very scanty over the first few metres of the composition, on both sides of the hall, bur becomes denser as you move through the hall, and reaches its maximum towards the middle of the hall.

The Hall of the Bulls contains a total of 130 figurative and geometric images (ill. 47). There are 36 identified representations of animals, which can be divided into four types: 17 horses, 11 bovines, 6 stags and one bear. The identity of the remaining two animals - a quadruped and the Unicorn - has been more difficult to determine with any accuracy. There are some 50 signs in total, most often grouped together, bur they have less of a visual impact. They fall into two classes: dots and linear figures, such as bars and nested or branching forms.

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47 Overview of the ensemble of figures in the Hall of the Bulls.

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As though forming a prelude to the iconography of both the Hall of the Bulls and the cave as a whole, the Unicorn appears to be pushing all the participants on the left wall towards the back of the gallery (ill. 48). It occupies a relatively elongated rectangle (2.35 metres by 1.08 metres, including its two frontal appendages), and its nature is accentuated by its shape (primarily by the fact that it is somewhat inclined to the front). Its general morphology gives it an undulating appearance, which is reinforced by the double curve of the cervical-dorsal the undulating outline, the square head, very prominent withers, a highly distended belly, ring-like patterns on the flanks, robust feet, and above all the straightness of the lines replacing the horns and their positioning on the forehead - have prompted numerous interpretations, some of which are very fanciful (reindeer). These observations have helped to maintain the dement of confusion that surrounds this figure and its name, fuelling its mythical interpretation.

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48 An enigmatic creature, the Unicorn appears to be pushing the horses of the two friezes. One of the friezes is achromatic, underscoring the panel, while the second is composed of polychrome figures.

The two frontal appendages and the body of the Unicorn have not been treated in the same way: a brush was used to paint the former, while the body was created by spraying pigment. This effective break in technique might encourage us to dissociate these two subjects, but image processing confirms that these elements are closely associated. The end of the upper straight line is not interrupted by the forehead, but extends some 15 centimetres into the interior of the outline of the head, forming an arc identical to the curvature of the cranium. This proves that the two lines belong to the outline of the animal silhouette after all. For a long time it was thought that the silhouette might be a feline, but more recently it has been categorized as a fantasy animal.

This cat-like outline would imply that the animal was deliberately depicted in an ambiguous manner, by concealing its true features through the addition of anatomical fragments that have little in common with the subject, and through the omission of others that are characteristic of felines, such as ears. This type of misrepresentation seems to be common in the depiction of carnivores. The bear painted on the facing wall, for example, shows another form of dissimulation: its silhouette is almost totally hidden by the ventral line of a bull to which it is attached. The feline head in the Axial Gallery, which is assembled from four black smears, follows a different pattern: this is the most minimalist figure, and both the most artificial and the most discreet, because leaving aside anyone of these smudges of colour makes its identification impossible. A fourth type of dissimulation locating the figure far from the most easily accessible areas - is more classic and applies to the lions in the Chamber of the Felines.

With the exception of the emblematic figure of the Unicorn, the iconography of the hall is dominated by four great bulls divided between the two walls. They have been drawn facing each other in an asymmetrical fashion, with one very large and incomplete aurochs on the left set against a group of three others to both sides of the entrance to the Axial Gallery. The entrance to the gallery does not interrupt the equilibrium of the frieze, as it unfolds across the mid level of the wall in the pronounced overhang. The composition is completed by heads of bulls, one at each end of this long creation. These, the most monumental masterpieces of Palaeolithic parietal art, occupy the entire width of the facade. The base line, marked by a horizontal abutment of the wall and by a change in the colour of the underlying rock, has been used as an imaginary floor for the majority of the animal figures in the hall. The elements of this composition remain graphically similar, suggesting that they were all executed by the same person. One could say the same about each of the themes at the core of a single composition, whether they be stags or horses.

The first image of a bull -- a head -- is located on a large flake of rock that had fallen to the ground before the cave was discovered. The impression left by it (ill. 49) fits between the Unicorn and a bichrome horse. The large block (116 centimetres by 90 centimetres) has the general shape of a lozenge. As it had become an encumbrance during various alterations to the cave, it was moved. As a result, the flake, bearing two images - that of the bull and the neck of a horse - has become dirty very rapidly, a process that cannot be easily reversed. Today, it is difficult to ascertain anything from these traces: only some unclear black traces can be distinguished, buried in a mixture of sandy clay. The first photographs taken do, however, provide a better insight into these works. Here, one sees the fundamental lines of the two figures, the one created by spraying pigment (the equid), the other by a drawn line. Only the ear and poll from the upper part of the aurochs's head and the muzzle from the lower part still survive on the wall. The photographs show that part of the remaining upper section was painted directly on to the rock, proof that a first phase of exfoliation had taken place before prehistoric humans were present.

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49 Photographic repositioning of the head of the first bull. The image of this bull was preserved on a flake of rock that had fallen to the ground.

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The virtual repositioning (on a computer) of the block into its original parietal context on the wall allows a more advanced morphological and technological study, even though the quality of the record is not the best and the obtained image of the outline of the animal not entirely free of ambiguity. It was identified as a bovine by Henri Breuil, Annette Laming-Emperaire and Andre Glory, but this was recently contested [21] with the suggestion that it is in fact a horse: the horns and the eyebrow are missing, in contrast to the other representations of bulls in the hall, and the line marking the outline of the mandible seems to resemble that of an equid. At first sight, these arguments appear to be justified. Nevertheless, the absence of a line intended to emphasize the specificity of a theme more clearly, for example that of the horns, is not sufficient proof to reject identification. Moreover, the line depicting the lower jaw, which extends as a steady curve right up to the ear, appears far too developed to be interpreted as a correction. This type of line does not appear on any of the equids.

There are further signs that this is an outline of a bovine. The head is large and can be compared to those of the other five aurochs in the hall, whereas not one of the painted or engraved equid heads at this site measures more than a third of the length of this head. Moreover, the technique used to create the outline - the combination of the outline and internal markings - fits with this thematic group. This can be seen in the depiction of the skin in the jowl area, where a scattering of dots bears a striking resemblance to similar markings on the more intact aurochs. This similarity in the form of these animals suggests the use of the same or at least a similar type of tool.

The analogies of form are equally noteworthy. This is especially true of the quadrangular muzzle, crossed by a line at a right angle to the forehead, which also indicates variations in the hair and the arch of the lines of skin separating the muzzle from the rest of the head. Another detail had so far escaped observation. This is a curved line, underlining the mandible and representing the more or less developed crease of the neck connecting the lower lip and the throat. It is obscured by the mane of the horse immediately underneath, but this graphic feature essentially widens the angle of the face, and has otherwise only been used on aurochs, for example on the first and fourth bulls.

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50 The mirror image of its twin, located on the facing wall, the third black bull is painted with a red cow and a young bovine.

The first large figure in the cave is located directly in front of this head. This second representation of an aurochs, facing towards the bottom of the gallery, measures 3.5 metres in length from the far end of the line of the back to the muzzle. The numerous equids and cervids that surround or cover the aurochs can detract from its sheer size. The extremely dense representations of horses around the aurochs meant that many of the animal's rear features were not completed. Indeed, only its forequarters are depicted. The figure uses all the available height, some 3 metres in total. The image was centred as accurately as possible, and all of its extremities, the horns, the line of the back and the hooves, reach the edges of the panel. (...)

Compared with the fragmentary character of the work as a whole, the rendition of the head and the neck of the aurochs is very accomplished. There is a huge amount of detail: the eye, the trapezoidal ear, the very dense poll, the muzzle with a detailed outline and the use of pigment to render the hide. This assemblage of graphic elements occurs repeatedly in this hall and in the second third of the Axial Gallery. (...) The horns, unusually, show an almost symmetrical curvature. The one in the foreground continues uninterrupted, rather than having the 'S'-shaped form of the other figures.

Because of the techniques used to create these aurochs, there are further similarities of shape. For all the aurochs in the hall, Palaeolithic man painted the more accessible areas of the animal by spattering colouring matter, switching to a brush or swab for the upper sections. Between the two methods there is also a mixture of procedures - notably for the muzzle, where pulverized pigment was applied with a stencil to create a smooth surface, in sharp contrast to the mote abrupt depiction of the forehead. The mandible is always shown by a double line and completed with a series of eight small circular dots in a row. The same is true of the right limb, which is marked out by a line of identically sized and clearly distinct dots at each edge. The aurochs are then depicted with a vertical bipartition of techniques.

Whereas the majority of the outlines have a neutral black colour, the two hooves and the dewlap of the second aurochs look slightly more brown. This is down to the choice of pigments used, rather than a lower density of colouring matter or a variation in the method of its application. This figure also stands our from the other aurochs through the use of red to emphasize the withers, the two horns and the poll (i.e. the lines located on the upper part of the body). The colour was applied to the black at a later stage.

The third bull (ill. 50) is, together with the fifth one of this very long frieze (on the facing wall), the most imposing figure of Palaeolithic art. The frame enclosing these animals extends over a surface of 13 square metres for a field of activity of 4.6 metres. The overhang of the wall is at its greatest here, reaching a gradient of almost 70° to the vertical. A group of stags separates the second aurochs from its neighbouring herd of black horses and the third bull. Three figures obscure the latter's ventral line and hindlimbs: the most important is a red bovine; the other two are less conspicuous, representing a head of a calf and a small incomplete silhouette of a horse (partly hidden by the right hind hoof).

The monumental proportions of this work of art certainly influenced the technique used - here restricted to drawing. The bull shares this technique with the ibex, notably those depicted in the panel of the Falling Cow. Effectively only the outlines have been drawn. In the past, the shape of this third bull has been criticized, but the proportions are in fact accurate. The pronounced overhang of the wall makes the images look compressed and somewhat top-heavy, with massive forequarters and weaker hindquarters. Almost all of the anatomical details of the aurochs are present, although the front right hoof is missing, cur off at the pastern. The developed horns protrude from the head in the form of a divided semi-circle. The are fewer dots around the eye compared with the other aurochs. They simulate the curly hair specific to the bulls, while the rest of the body has a smooth coat. The penile sheath is portrayed distinctly.

The signs may have smaller dimensions than this great bull, but they make up for it in their number. Several types of signs are concentrated in the area between the shoulder and the chest and nowhere else. Dots are used both individually and in groups - most notably in the arc of a circle at the proximal end of the limb, which is composed of five dots. There is also a hooked sign of three lines, and a red linear mark, although the latter may just be what remains of a draft of a figurative drawing. Finally, some distance away, above the withers and at the top of the subject, there is a brick-red sign composed of a line and three oblong dots.

The fourth aurochs is located on the wall linking the entrance to the Axial Gallery to that of the Passageway (ill. 46) further down. Here, only the lines of the forequarters are visible, possibly because the artist did not wish to obliterate the fifth bull, which is located directly behind it. This would have given the artist an extremely limited space to work with, insufficient for the depiction of the entire animal. Several other clues support this hypothesis. The ends of the upper and lower lines stop a few centimetres before the aurochs to its right and the pelvic region of the red cow, which overlays the same fifth bull. Furthermore, there is an abnormal elongation of these two lines compared with the shape of the complete aurochs figures. (... ) The anatomical details are consistent with the other depictions of aurochs: the use of pointillism for the hide, extending from the head to the withers, and the double line of the mandible, indicating the folds of skin. There is one unique feature, however: an oblong shape at the base of one of its horns, which may represent the outline of the bull's left ear. It is shorter than it would be in real life, but its position at the base of the horn reflects the bovine anatomy. (... )

There are traces of fine scraping to both sides of the bull's right knee. This is where the artist tried to rub out the black colour of an existing painted horse in order to make the bull's joint stand out from the dark background. This bull differs from the other bovines in the Hall of the Bulls through the abnormal length of its front limbs, particularly the right one. Unlike the body and the head of this animal, which are located on the overhanging wall of the Hall of the Bulls, the two feet stand at the entrance to the Axial Gallery.

An ensemble of sixteen associated depictions includes both figurative and geometric elements. Their spatial distribution is limited to the thoracic region of the fourth bull. They consist of a relatively large number of figures of small dimensions: a group of signs located towards the top of the figure, on the withers, and six animals bordering, indeed fusing with the lower line. The thematic associations recorded here reveal striking similarities with its alter ego, the aurochs located immediately in front, on the facing wall: the presence of the stag, the horse, the cow and a young bovine. Only the bear strikes a different note.

The fifth aurochs boasts exceptional dimensions. Measuring no less than 5.6 metres from the point of the right horn to the tip of the tail, this is the most imposing work of Palaeolithic parietal art discovered to date. It is also noted for the huge number of signs, lines and dots found in its immediate vicinity, particularly around the head, the horns and the ventral line.

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51 Head of the fifth bull, constructed on the basis of a sequence of black dots placed close enough together to appear as a line.

All of the anatomical details conventionally associated with and specific to this theme are represented, but some are exceptional, particularly the head. The eye is highlighted by the arc of the orbit, and there is an outline of a second, identically shaped form (ill. 51) just a few centimetres above on the forehead. The detail in the lines of the mandible and the dewlap, or folds of the neck, is also remarkable. The developed horns, with their very ample curvature, nevertheless demand a closer look -- particularly at the bases, where the horns connect to the top of the head. A curving line running parallel to the poll causes some confusion of perspective, making the horn on the right look as if it were attached to the opposite side of the skull. On closer inspection, however, this line does not seem to be linked to the horn, and the impression that it gives of the slightly shorter horn being in the foreground is perhaps accidental. (...)

Spray and brush techniques were used to create the black outline of this fifth aurochs. Pigment was sprayed on to the lower, more accessible part of the body -- more specifically the axis connecting the snout and the ventral line -- but a brush was used on the upper areas. Different methods of application are apparent on the upper body, including the juxtaposition of single dots. The curving line on the forehead has a special character. It is composed of a series of dots sufficiently close to one another to give them a linear appearance and limit their punctuated impact. The diameter of the dots generally ranges from 2 to 3 centimetres, apart from the tracing of the supra-orbital arch, the poll and the horns where it is 1 centimetre. (... )

Slightly apart from the two great bovines on the tight wall, at the extreme right of this panel, there is the large head of an aurochs (ill. 52) facing towards the entrance. The entrance to the Passageway lies at its base. Here, the wall has deteriorated so much that only a few fragments of the original image can be identified - notably the tips of the horns, rounded off by a scatter of very faint dots evoking the initial outline, the forehead, the tip of the nose and the beginning of the mandible. Of the poll, only a small group of dots with a diffuse border survives. Despite the advanced state of deterioration, this figure can be compared to the other aurochs. It was drawn entirely in black, using a brush. A small number of dots and an indeterminate triangular drawing mark the end of the panel.

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52 The broken line of the very badly preserved head of the six aurochs was drawn on a surface exposed to processes of corrosion. It is located at the point where the exchange of air from the outside, between the present entrance and that located at the end of the Great Fissure, was at its greatest

Two red female aurochs are also depicted on the panel and accentuate the outlines of the third and fifth bulls respectively. Each is accompanied by a small bovine in its immediate vicinity, one black (for the left cow) and the other red. The first female is 1.1 metres tall and 2 metres long. Its forelimb touches the incomplete shape of a small black horse, whose head disappears behind one of the bull's hooves. Five black dots and a hooked symbol are also clearly visible. The identification of this first red female has been the subject of much debate and wavers between aurochs and bison. There are many convincing arguments to suggest that it is in fact an aurochs. The tail is very long and falls vertically to the floor - a feature that is consistently present in all the representations of cows at Lascaux. The line of the back is sub-horizontal and marked by a depression midway along, before extending to the pronounced base of the tail. The lower half of the flank has not been painted, which softens the animal's outline and exaggerates its anterior-posterior dimorphism. Metrical analysis of the image shows that the relationship between the dimensions of section of their twisted lines, again support this identification. This figure is without any doubt a representation of a female aurochs.

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53 The outlines of this red cow, painted over the forelimbs of the fifth aurochs, are partly in contact with the upper line of a male aurochs drawn in black.

As a matter of fact, Henri Breuil had correctly analysed it when he suggested that it was a depiction of an animal collapsing, its muzzle touching the floor. In fact, at this position, the lower line of the head merges with that of the chest, resulting in a somewhat shapeless mass, such as is rarely depicted in Palaeolithic art. The shape of the wall contributes to this. The sharp bend in the rocky ledge is exaggerated by the opening of the Axial Gallery below, producing an image of the floor falling away below the feet.

Above the internal edge of the line of the belly of the third bull there is an incomplete animal. The red cow described above masks the entire painted surface at the level of the withers. Despite these modifications, it is possible to make out the outline of a head and the beginning of the neck of an animal turned towards the left. A stocky head, a convex brow, a deep muzzle - in outline a quarter-circle - and the lower forehead marked by a hollow are all elements characteristic of bovines. Moreover, the apex of the skull is marked by a poll and, some centimetres behind this a leaf-like appendage rises from the line of the neck. This looks like it may be a horn, although its position is not quite right, or an ear. It is clearly a representation of a juvenile bovine, although it is not possible to specify whether it is an aurochs or bison.

The massive red silhouette of a bovine (ill. 53), the second cow in this hall, looms up on the facing wall. Its somewhat male characteristics - including the great depth of the head, which has a similar facial angle to that of the bulls - accentuate its size. However, the delicacy of the horns and the four limbs tell us that it is a female, as does the pelvic region, where the base of the tail is more marked and projecting than in a male. The extremities of the feet and the tail are not depicted and seem to vanish below the imaginary floor line. The red colour applied to the entire silhouette is unusually even.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:37 pm

The Hall of the Bulls, Part 2

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54 The incomplete depiction of this calf is fused with that of the cow in front of it. The gaps in colour at their point of contact bear witness to the close interdependence of the two figures.

There are other drawings around this bovine. Apart from the great bull, which seems to envelop it completely, there is a representation of a calf (ill. 54) to the rear. Only the outline of the calf's forequarters is shown, mostly only partially, and two parallel ears are clearly marked at the height of the junction between the head and the neck. The graphical association of calf and cow is accentuated by two gaps in colour, which mark the point of contact between the two figures: one at the junction of the edge of the cow's leg and the top of the head of the small bovine, and the other at the proximal end of the tail below the neck of the calf. By using an identical colour for both animals, the artist clearly intended to fuse the two images and highlight the relationship between calf and mother. This dual image is the result of one phase of activity, with the figure of the young aurochs being simply the graphical extension of that of the mother.

The rump and the horns of another bovine lie parallel to the upper line of the red cow, and were painted later. The twist of the horns - the simple curve of the left horn and the double twist of the right - and a much more massive morphology than that recorded for the cows suggest that this animal is the seventh bull of the Hall of the Bulls. An important ensemble of signs (particularly lines) was traced directly in front of the red cow, in the arch defined by the head, the neck, the chest and the forelimbs.

Equids, always numerous at Lascaux, account for 48 per cent of all the animals depicted in the Hall of the Bulls. There are two distinct groups on the left wall and another, more scattered concentration on the facing wall. Even though there are far more horses than bovines, they have less of a visual impact. However, horses become increasingly more important in the other sectors of the sanctuary at the expense of the aurochs.

A procession of six black horses, facing the bottom of the hall, extends along a single horizontal line between the Unicorn and the third aurochs. On the left of the frieze, a head introduces the procession, and two manes on the far right mark its end. A small silhouette of a horse immediately next to the entrance to the Axial Gallery is also noteworthy. Masked by the hind hoof of the third aurochs, only its head and neck are visible.

A second line of animals runs above the six black horses, made up of four predominantly red horses. On the far left of the frieze, the lines of a sketched horse on the flanks of the Unicorn and the head of another horse on the latter's shoulder mark the start of this second line. The third horse -- a very large figure -- lies at the centre of the composition, superimposed over the second bull. A brown and black head with an extended upper line, located between the horns of the two aurochs, marks the end of this line.

On the facing wall a number of sketches continue the horse theme. One of these is located in front of the fourth bull, at the entrance to the Axial Gallery. The second, in three colours, occupies the centre of the same bull. The third - an unclear yellow smear with an equid-like outline is located in front of the red cow.

The sequence of black horses on the left wall begins with the head and neck of one figure, which are covered by a large yellow blotch. This is the first animal representation in the cave (ill. 55). This outline, turned towards the entrance, has been placed in a natural frame, the borders of which are formed by the rocky ledge above, the line of the shelf at its base and by small calcite flows to both sides. Its outline is limited to the neck, the poll, a sketch of the head with neither nostrils nor mouth, and to the very inconspicuous outline of the back, traced in red using a brush. The second horse is located immediately in front of the Unicorn, marking the start of the procession.

The composition of horses extends over a length of 9 metres. They all appear to move along the same sub-horizontal line of the floor, which materializes in a change of colours and an incline of the wall towards what we call the bench. Major deterioration of the underlying surface has virtually destroyed the second horse: when a large flake of the wall fell to the floor, it took the horse's head and neck with it, together with the head of the first bovine. Its entire surface is painted black, as are the outlines of the line of the neck, the chest, the line of the back, the croup and the hindquarters, carried out by spraying and bilateral masking of the parallel edges. A stencil was used for its feet. The tail consists of a series of oblong smears, aligned in a row, and ends in a diffuse tuft.

The third horse is incomplete owing to the limited space available. Only its forequarters are shown. Nevertheless, it has been treated in exactly the same way as the complete animal representations, with numerous anatomical details. The ears and eye are not drawn, and only in exceptional cases are the horses of Lascaux given eyes. The location of this animal, on the lower level of the wall, influenced the technical methods used in its creation. This area of the wall is characterized by large depressions, forcing the artist to rely predominantly on the spray technique. The exception is the back, the broad line of which differs from the test of the body. A linear series of adjacent dots represents the line of the belly. Four other dots extend this line and emphasize the lower edge of the limb.

A fourth, partial silhouette of a horse emerges from the obscure darkness of the bench. This sketch, limited to the head, the neck and the beginning of the line of the back, was created entirely by spraying. The juxtaposition of small dots in two lines represents the upper part of the mane. Another line of dots inside the head may represent a sketched neckline, later replaced by the more generous thickening of the neck.

The fifth horse is at the centre of the frieze, immediately below the great red horse with the black neck. Its general morphology follows an elongated 'S'-shaped curve, the character of which is accentuated by the strong downward curvature of the back and the alignment of the rounded mane with the forehead. This deliberately accentuates the movement of the forelimbs. with the hindlimbs supporting the body. Very few details of the head remain, so much so that its features are essentially limited to a traced outline. The reduced size of the head contrasts strongly with the mass of the neck. Two juxtaposed broad lines, which are of a slightly denser shade of black than that of the flanks, emphasize the abdomen and appear to be structural elements. (...)

The extensive application of black pigment marking the chest of the second bull conceals the outline of a sixth equid. Overwhelmed by the different neighbouring shapes, only the head, neck and back of the horse are visible. Despite its incomplete nature, we can identify this figure as a horse simply by looking at its cervical-dorsal line: the straight back and regular curvature to the line of the neck, and the angle that is formed where the neck and back meet, are specific to the representation of these animals.

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55 A black head of a horse is the first figurative unit of the sanctuary.

In the vanguard of the long frieze of the black horses, the outline of the seventh equid merges partly with the chest of the second bull. Indeed, the croup and the hindlimbs disappear in the thick application of black pigment, entangled with the outline of another horse and the dewlap and the forelimbs of the aurochs. The entire figure was executed by spraying pigment, with the exception of the outline of the hooves and an interior line that follows the line of the back 3 centimetres away. Whereas the distribution of the internal dots seems to be random, those of the outlines seem to be more coordinated. For tracing the shape of the body they follow a continuous line, with no interruption between each element, from the base of the mane to the articulation of the forelimbs. The application of colour to the interior is in the form of large dots, creating a relatively diffuse scatter.

The right edge of the frieze of the black horses finishes with two sketches. The rudimentary nature of the left-hand figure has prompted various interpretations, including a mask or the head of a nocturnal bird of prey. Analysis using graphical analogy suggests that it is an incomplete outline of a horse, limited to the forehead, the poll, the mane and the beginning of the line of the back. Two juxtaposed smudges may be markings of the neck. The second sketch of a horse consists of only three elements: the mane, which is linear in nature, and two lines of the neck, composed of dots.

A tenth horse is hidden in the distal extremity of the third bull's right posterior limb. Only the head, neck and back are visible. There are two parallel lines of clay between the neck of the horse and the forelimbs of the red bovine, but it is uncertain whether they are Palaeolithic.

The second sequence of equids on this wall is more restricted in number and is located at the same height as the Unicorn. Only the neck and the line of the back of the first figure are shown, drawn in red. The brushstroke is 3 to 4 centimetres wide and shows the cervical-dorsal trajectory as a regular line with a triple curvature.

Several animals obscure the body of the Unicorn, including the second figure in this sequence, which appears as a large red smudge on the withers (ill. 56). It was very difficult to identify this figure, and in the end we had to resort to image processing in order to define the outline better and to bring out the original effects (ill. 57). Eventually, it was possible to recognize the shape of a horse head, with the mane, poll, forehead, mandible and neck all depicted. The extremity of the muzzle (nostrils and lower lip) is not shown, which is true of all the horse heads at Lascaux (ill. 58).

The largest horse of the panel, the great red and black horse, occupies a central position, both vertically and horizontally. It is the most consummate (ill. 59), with all the classic anatomical details. Moreover, the head seems to be split in two: one head is black and lower down, and the other is red with a black forehead. Nevertheless, it would appear that the former outline is external, rather than an artistic correction. Another peculiar feature of this figure relates to two black, oblong marks behind the two forelimbs. They are associated with two series of sub-parallel striations - one red, the other black - drawn at the left of each mark. The belly is marked by a scatter of large black smudges. Furthermore, at the base of the mane it is possible to recognize a slightly arched line composed of six large black dots, an arrangement that has still not been interpreted.

Various techniques were used to depict this animal. A fine red border applied with a brush marks the limit of the back and the croup, while a black border shows the lower line of the neck linking the upright chest to the throat. An alignment of markedly similar black marks follows the ventral curve, but the form of the thigh is less solid and was carried our using a stencil. The lines of the back and neck and the outlines of the forehead and peripheral elements (the feet and tail) were all drawn with the same tool, which cannot have been more than 1 centimetre wide. By contrast, a much broader and flexible brush, coated with a more diluted red material, was used on what appears to be the ears. There are certain similarities between this colour and the pigment used to highlight the back of the bull, suggesting that they may have been painted at the same time. The head is carried high and lies along the same axis as the body. The back feet are at their maximum extension and parallel to each other, whereas the front feet are less extended and diverge at an angle of some 20°.

The brown horse faces towards the back of the gallery, and only the outlines of its head, neck and back (ill. 60) are shown. The pointed, parallel and slender ears are located perpendicularly at the beginning of the mane. The tip of the nose, the nostrils and the lower lip are shown in detail. The depiction of the mandible and the beginning of the line of the neck are also carried out meticulously. The underlying surface is relatively fine grained, which the artist has worked to his advantage with the use of shades of brown and black and the dispersion of colour. These two features are found only rarely in the cave. The mane, in particular, shows off this technique. The same fine-grained texture enabled the artist to draw the head in detail, from the nasal opening to the lower lip. The passage to the mouth is marked by a succession of small parallel dashes covering the entire tip of the snout. Sprayed pigment was used to create the collection of oblong shapes that make up the mane and the lower line of the neck. The dorsal outline, shown as a continuous and regular line, is somewhat curved. The effect is intensified by the presence of a fracture line in the rock formed by a longitudinal fault.

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56 The shoulder of the Unicorn is marked by a red smear.

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57 Image processing allows the separation of the outline of this figure for a more critical interpretation. It shows the head and neck of a horse.

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58 The identification of the preceding image is supported by a comparison with this small depiction of a horse head, painted below the first Chinese horse in the Axial Gallery

On the right wall, only one of the three horses faces the end of the gallery. Located at the boundary of the Axial Gallery and the Hall of the Bulls and partially overlapping the fourth bull, it nevertheless belongs to the latter by association. The outline appears to be slightly disturbed, both in its form and by the nature of the underlying surface. The incomplete outline is marked by the absence of the withers, the back and the hindquarters. Difficulties in positioning the subject cannot have helped. Several lines, apparently unconnected to the outline, cluster around this image, in particular an arched line underlining the neck. One of those lines -- a thick one that crosses the front limbs diagonally and looks like the hoof of a horse - may well be a correction to the painting. The presence of a coating of clay to lessen the impact of this poorly placed limb would support this hypothesis. There are also incised marks, or more precisely very superficial removals of pigment, on the flanks in the shape of a cross.

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59 Forequarters of a great red and black horse.

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60 The outlines of a brown horse with a black mane form the graphic connection between the two large depictions of aurochs on the left wall.

In this case, as for the majority of depictions, a mixture of techniques has been used. The outlines have been drawn, while painting has been used to fill in forms. Often the animal looks elongated. This distortion is caused by the shape of the wall and the need to get the proportions right. The image was intended to be viewed from the centre of the Hall of the Bulls rather than from its closest point, the entrance to the Axial Gallery. This distortion of the picture is similar to that used on the fourth bull.

There are numerous signs, dots and bars and animal figures around the forequarters of the fourth bull. A partial silhouette of a horse stands at the centre of the composition, apparently at random. Only the front half of its body can be seen. Several colours have been applied by spraying: yellow for the neck and the coat of the animal, black for its mane and red for its chest and legs.

On the surface marked out by the forequarters of the red cow, painted within the forelimbs of the fifth bull, are several associated signs and another horse (ill. 61). It is not instantly recognizable: the yellow colour provides only limited contrast) and the outlines of the animal are incomplete, reduced to the mane, the neck and the beginning of the back. Nevertheless, you can see a sketch of the forehead leading to a developed poll. The artist painted the cow by spraying a succession of applications of powdered colouring matter next to each other, their impact being more marked at the level of the neck than the rest of the image.

The third theme of the panel is that of the stags, divided into two groups of uneven size. There are five stags on the left wall (ill. 62). This group is interesting because its composition differs from the others in this chamber. The sixth stag, which is black, forms part of the small group of incomplete figures and sketches that decorate the forequarters of the fourth bull.

The group of five stags, all of which face the entrance, stand in a trapezoidal area, bounded laterally by the second and third bulls and vertically by the brown horse and the line of the floor. They are of substantially identical proportions and are arranged in a herd-like formation. They are divided between three levels: the yellow and black stag at the bottom, the incomplete red stags and the two outlines. Despite the very great diversity of the antlers, there are certain characteristics that are shared by all the stags, such as the parallelism of the limbs or the rendition of the cervical-dorsal line by a continuous curve, without the projection of the withers. The symmetry of the figures is not only achieved by the spatial distribution of the different subjects of the composition but also by their animation: both subjects on the far left and far right are static, whereas the superimposed figures placed at the Centre are shown in motion.

The outline of the red stag, to the left, occupies an almost perfect square. Neither the hindlimbs nor the line of the belly have been depicted. The dissymmetry of its antler tines is more accentuated than in the other stags, particularly at their base. The stag's right-hand antler, with a very thick section and the form of a crescent, appears to reproduce the outline of the head and the neck below it. No fewer than twenty-two tines can be counted on this antler. The great diameter of the antlers might suggest that this is a picture of a very old stag. Red is the only colour used for this animal. The antlers, the head, the neck, the legs and the curve of the back were painted with a brush, but the internal colour was sprayed.

The second stag takes up the space between the muzzles of the second and the third bulls. It is slightly smaller than the stags below it and has fewer anatomical features. Only the neck, the outline of the body and the limbs have been depicted. Some diffuse vertical lines above and in front of the stag suggest the antlers. The natural forms of the rock surface played an important role in the representation of this animal: two large scars, where flakes of the wall surface have fallen away, suggest an angular head and the antlers. It is not the relief caused by the loss of material that creates this effect, however, but rather the difference in colour produced by the juxtaposition of the underlying ochreous rock and the white calcite. The powerfully depicted forelimbs are shorter and denser than those of the figures below, contrasting with the limbs of the hindquarters, which are reduced to a faint trace of colour. The inconspicuous red line of the croup is emphasized by an irregular arrangement of black points and dashes.

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61 There are numerous signs on the walls of the Hall of the Bulls, but in outline they are essentially
limited to dotted or linear forms.


The central animal of the group, the yellow and black stag, is also the most accomplished (ill. 63). The position of this figure on the lower level of the tableau, a zone marked by deep hollows, makes the high number of anatomical details all the more remarkable. The work of art's graphical qualities are maintained: it fits exactly into a square. Its oversized antlers double its height. Certain anatomical details arc unique. such as the extremities of the limbs, which are drawn with the hooves and the dewclaw. Yellow is used to show variation in the thickness of the coat, which is always more substantial on the neck than on the rest of the body. A black linear stroke marks the outline of the coat. It is very different from that of the neck, where the length and density of the fur is implied by a looser arrangement of colour applied by spraying and with no clear boundary. The depiction of the antlers is broadly naturalistic, showing, from the bottom to the top. the brow tines, the bez tines, the trez tines and the crown, but asymmetrically from one antler to the other and with a doubling of some elements. The stifle (the joint in the leg) in the foreground follows the line of the belly: the other traces a straight line sub-parallel to the lumbar region. The limbs are parallel and vary in thickness along their entire length, thereby showing their different sections and articulations, unlike the somewhat spindly legs of the two red stags to either side. The morphology of the wall has played a role. The front part of the stag (forehead and bez tines) follows, at a short distance, the curve of a ridge formed by a large and deep cavity just in from of this animal. Where the eye should be, a calcite growth takes its place, an interpretation rendered all the more probable since this feature retains its original white colour, having been left unpainted in the middle of the black surface.

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62 The frieze of the Small Stags occupies a special position between two great opposed bulls. It forms the geometrical and, perhaps also, dramatic centre of the very long composition that unfolds along the two walls of the Hall of the Bulls.

Only the antlers of the black stag are visible, but natural elements of the wall help you to imagine what the animal's body was like. Indeed, there is a degree of affinity between the cervid's antlers and the scar left by a flake, which might suggest the body. Very faint and disjointed black marks below the right antler evoke an eye, a forehead and the tip of the muzzle, merged into the line of the croup of the red stag.

Like the other cervids of this group, the red feet of the fifth stag do not rest on the line marking the separation of the tableau from the bench. Only the large animals and the majority of the horses obey this rule. The silhouette preserves all the outlines of the upper body, the line of the back and neck, to the detriment of the ventral line, the chest, the throat and the head. The long and fine legs are in pairs and absolutely parallel, perpendicular to the line of the floor. The straight fore- and hindlimbs are characterized by a single curve at the knee and the hock respectively. But it is the antlers that are the unique feature of this figure, both in their shape and dimensions: they form a veritable bush of forty-odd tines, partially drowned in the black mass of the chest of the third bull, and their surface area approximately equals that of the body.

On the facing wall, the small black stag that stands close to the entrance of the Axial Gallery is depicted with almost all of the traditional anatomical features. Only the line of the belly has not been drawn, and the forelimbs are merely sketched. The outlines of this animal, represented in right profile, differ very little from the other stags. The few differences relate to the antlers, which are much less developed and have fewer tines, and to the position of the head, which is carried noticeably lower. There are many similarities with the yellow and black stag: the treatment of the croup, the articulation of the hindlimb drawn in the background, the static nature of the parallel and outstretched back legs. Outline drawing is not common in the Hall of the Bulls, but this figure has been executed using mainly this technique. The outline and the fur of the neck have been drawn with a brush. Only a few areas of the back and croup were sprayed.

Hidden in the ventral band of the fourth aurochs, the image of the bear (ill. 190) is only recognizable by the line of the upper body, the ears, the front edge of the raised head and the distal end of the right hindlimb, on which three claws are clearly visible. Nevertheless, a more in-depth analysis of the subject, following image processing, has led to the identification of the croup, the thigh and the second hindlimb.

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63 Unlike the four other cervids of this group, which surround it, the yellow and black stag has all the anatomical details that are traditionally depicted.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:40 pm

The Sistine Chapel of Prehistory

Continuing the axis of the Hall of the Bulls is the opening of the Axial Gallery, deservedly regarded as the pinnacle of Palaeolithic parietal art. The depictions occupy the entire upper level of the walls and the underside of the vault along the first few metres. The classic themes of the prehistoric bestiary are found here: aurochs, equids, ibexes, with the suggestion of a stag at the entrance and a bison at the back. It is an uninterrupted succession of major works of art, including the Chinese Horses, the four red cows, the Great Black Bull, the Falling Cow, the frieze of the Small Horses, the Confronted Ibexes and the Upside-down Horse. Geometrical signs are particularly abundant.

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64 Composition of the ensemble of depictions over the two walls and the vault of the first third of the Axial Gallery

The collection brings together 190 representations, of which 58 are figurative and 35 are signs of various types, including quadrangular, branching, rectilinear, cruciform and nested elements and fields of dots. There are 97 indeterminate figures, the majority of which may well be signs.

The linear organization of this sector and the distribution of the figures allow the works of art to be divided into seven groups. Four are on the left wall: the Red Cow with the Black Collar, the Great Black Bull, the Hemione and the Upside-down Horse, Three are on the right wall: the Chinese Horses, the Falling Cow and the Red Panel. There are also a few lines and dots in the terminal passage.

THE CEILING OF THE RED COWS

The first third of the Axial Gallery is thematically dominated by several large red bovines, resembling the bulls of the Hall of the Bulls in their asymmetrical distribution. Three of the four cows, with almost identical proportions, mark the left wall. Two face the same direction. The third one faces them, but its body extends on to the opposite wall, crossing the entire underside of the vault at an angle. Its croup is located on the tight wall, immediately in front of the fourth cow (ill. 64), Thus we have a composition with four cows, two in front of the others.

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65 The cervid theme, which is reproduced several times in the Hall of the Bulls, is only represented in the Axial Gallery by the black stag.

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66 The Red Cow with the Black Collar.

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67 The unfinished outline of the Cow with the Drooping Horn partly envelops the first subject of the very discrete frieze of horses on the left wall.

Three equids, organized as a frieze, are placed alternately between the bovines. The other remarkable figure, the Black Stag (ill. 65), is depicted on the tight. Its peculiarity lies in its position, at the beginning of the very long graphical sequence that opens out along both sides of the gallery. It is also the only stag in the corridor. "While its lower outline is missing, the figured elements reveal a high degree of finishing, particularly of the head, The open mouth is enveloped by a cloud of ted; the same association is also found on the black stag in the Hall of the Bulls, a figure located a mere 3 metres away. The eye is rarely drawn on the cervids of these two adjacent spaces, but it is one of the most detailed elements of this stag, The black pupil, at the bottom of a blank area, gives the impression that the stag is looking back. The antlers feature oversized crowns, with unusual tines. some of which are more developed than others. The lower tines are doubled, like the other stags at this site, The curve of the body is accentuated by the antlers, which are pushed back towards the rear. The singular outline depicts the rut, an interpretation confirmed by the distorted eye, The location of this figure, immediately next to the fourth bull of the Hall of the Bulls, its unique nature in this sector and its black colour, which contrasts with the warm tones of the majority of the other figures, support the association of this representation with the ensemble in the Hall of the Bulls.

On the left wall, the aurochs closest to the threshold of the gallery, popularly called the Red Cow with the Black Collar (ill. 66), stands next to the boundary between the Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Gallery. With the exception of the four hooves, the animal is anatomically complete. The numerous similarities of general morphology and of details with the other cows of Lascaux whether they belong to this sector, to the Hall of the Bulls, the Passageway or the Nave - demonstrate the very great unity of this theme. Only a few small and very specific variations in shape give a certain individuality to their outlines. Thus, the forehead of the Red Cow with the Black Collar follows a continuous curve from the poll to the snout. Its entire body is red, but its head and neck are black. The bipartition is not only chromatic but is connected with the morphology of the wall, as the ridge separating two concave surfaces of the tableau accentuates the border. There are several very superficial incisions at the level of the shoulder: the broader ones possibly sketch an animal head, while the finer ones are restricted to a few parallel straight lines.

The Cow with the Drooping Horn (ill. 67) is directly in front of the Red Cow with the Black Collar. It is incomplete: the head, with an acute facial angle, the rather gracile neck, throat, withers and the beginning of the back. The whole occupies a frame measuring 1.82 metres in width and less than 1 metre in height. The major anatomical difference, in comparison with the other paintings of cows at Lascaux, is the feeble development of the horns, which are painted with a brush. Whereas the left one emerges perfectly (short, curved back, pointing toward the forehead) the right horn, of equivalent form and length, could only be revealed by image processing and leaves the poll in the direction of the upper cheek.

Dichromatic representation, based on red and black, is a constant feature of the first three bovines of this corridor on both the right and left walls. All have a black anterior sector, which contrasts with the red body. Nevertheless, only the head of the Cow with the Drooping Horn profits from this treatment; the horns, ear and neck are untouched. There is also a superimposition of the two colours, unlike the Red Cow with the Black Collar. Above the line of the back of these two bovines are several assembled signs, the majority of which are cruciform.

Despite its favourable texture and chromatic properties, the ceiling of the Axial Gallery has only been used to a modest extent. Only two animal representations are found here: a very inconspicuous yellow head of an equid and another complete representation of a bovine. The latter boasts huge dimensions, extending over 2.87 metres across the entire width of the vault and on to the walls at both sides. This figure would have been difficult to position owing to the accentuated curvature of the underlying surface and its inaccessibility, but its proportions are comparable to those of the cows immediately adjacent. However, although the thoracic region is shown in derail, the red colouring depicting the croup and the thigh of the animal is only partial and the hindlimbs are only sketched, so as not to encroach upon the second Chinese horse below. Numerous indications show the technical difficulties encountered during the positioning of the outlines of this monochrome picture. This is one of the few figures in the cave to have been corrected, at the level of the left forelimb (ill. 68).

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68 The first third of the Axial Gallery assembles on the ceiling and the two walls a group of four female aurochs, which are very similar in their execution, and two friezes of horses.

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69 This diptych of the red cow and the first Chinese horse is rightly considered to be one of the pinnacles of Palaeolithic parietal art. Nevertheless, in this setting of quite modest proportions, several other compositions can equally lay claim to this distinction.

To the right, the Red Cow with the Black Head (ill. 69) occupies the upper part of the gallery. The outline is classic, but it has unique details -- such as the muzzle, which is distinctive due to its slight lateral displacement, and it is enhanced by the addition of the nasal orifice (a blank area). The forelimbs lie to both sides of a vertical ridge. The one on the right extends forwards, but the other one is folded back below the chest. The connection with the body is not very confident. The two hooves have been drawn, but their outline is very tenuous and disappears at the left below an efflorescence of calcite. The outline of the hindlimbs was predetermined by the first Chinese horse. The extended right hindlimb is shown as far as the end of the hock, while the second limb is only suggested by the start of the leg. The tail is shown by a simple line, reduced to a faint trace at its proximal end; its outline becomes thicker and then breaks off at the point of contact with the dorsal line of the Chinese horse. A brush was used a lot in painting this figure (to outline the forelimbs, for example). One notices the uniform and continuous execution of the lines of the head and beyond that, from the neck to the start of the hindlimbs. At the withers these lines change colour, from black to red. The tail is subjected to a similar process. Detailed examination shows that the depiction of the poll is not restricted to a simple line of demarcation, but that the hairiness of the forehead is represented by several short, parallel dashes. A sketchy yellow quadrangular sign (above the middle of the tail), branching lines and hooked signs are the only non-figurative elements associated with this animal.

As has already been mentioned, there are two distinct groups of equids, each containing three individuals. The main group of horses, of noticeably similar proportions, face the entrance and extend in a line over 5.5 metres. The polychromatic horse, or first Chinese horse, occupies a position midway between the black stag and the Red Cow with the Black Head (ill. 69). Three colours were used: red for the throat and the beginning of the chest, yellow for the body and black for textural lines. (... ) Symbols are particularly evident here, both in terms of number and size. and include the 'curly bracket' sign. They are found outside and below the horse, particularly parallel lines and a red nested sign, but also on its flanks, where a series of black dashes is submerged in the brown mass of the abdomen.

The second Chinese horse is the most famous (ill. 70). The regular lines of its composition, together with the extreme precision of its coat and anatomical details, contribute to the excellence of this work of art. Taking into account the colour of the underlying surface, a regular colour was applied for the coat. The anatomical features are reduced to their essentials or evoked cautiously, such as the two short and triangular-shaped markings on the neck. The mane is composed of a slightly arched alignment of fifteen oblong, clearly distinct marks. Exfoliation of the underlying surface has caused deterioration and erased the poll. The snout, on the other hand, preserves its original appearance, both in its material and form. A long and narrow scar marks out the line of the chest. The sub-circular back hooves are more accomplished than those at the front, which are more irregular and lack colour.

The third Chinese horse has most of the anatomical features usually depicted, apart from the eye, although this omission reinforces its relationship to the others. The mane is of medium thickness and ends at a pair of well- developed ears, which are perpendicular to the top of the forehead. This horse is distinguished by its coat, which is more precise than usual, both in terms of structure and colours. The five marks on the neck are broad but get gradually shorter from the shoulder to the middle of the back. Fifteen short, parallel, thin lines mark the periphery of the abdomen. Colour is used to differentiate the parts of the body. The yellow of the flanks is associated with shades of black on the pelvic region and along the upper outline of the animal, creating subtle combinations and an accurate reproduction of the coat. It is rare for the skin to be rendered in this way, not only at Lascaux but in Western European parietal art generally. Associated signs are limited to two adjacent lines drawn above the dorsal line of the horse.

The left wall bears many similarities in its technical features, composition and themes. It opens out over 6 metres, beyond the Red Cow with the Black Collar.

The three horses of this frieze are unusual in possessing somewhat ethereal outlines. The first, painted between the two cows, is dichromatic: black pigments for the outlines and yellow to fill in the figure. Calcite has covered the applications and has reduced the contrasts, making it more difficult to identify the figure. Only the mane, the two marks on the shoulder and the beginning of the line of the back are clearly visible. The tail, suggested by some dots of black colour, is discreetly underlined by a very faint and broken thin red line. The central subject of this frieze intervenes between the head of the Cow with the Drooping Horn and the neck of the red bovine painted on the underside of the ceiling. This horse preserves the translucent appearance of its predecessor. However, it is almost complete, with some minor exceptions, which were either not depicted or have been obliterated by calcite or by the neck of the cow drawn on the ceiling. This affects, above all, derails relating to the head, the mandible and the two ears. There are two marks on the neck and the tail, partially masked by the muzzle of the Cow with the Drooping Horn.

The third horse of the composition is to the right, some distance away from the others. It is drawn in the hollow of a concavity and partially hidden by a large projection of the wall that underlies it. Although all the lines of the outline of the body are present, only fragments of the lines of the tail and the forelimbs, which are reduced to stumps, are visible; of the head only the forehead is drawn. A tentative line, limited to a loop, is intended to mark the twofold division of the coat. The poorness of these outlines is matched by the fairly summary technique of their execution. The outline of the body, the tail, the forelimbs, the mane and the forehead is traced with a brush using red pigment. Infilling is only partial: a field of yellow covers the neck and the first third of the body. On the facing wall, the head of a bull (ill. 71) is drawn on the same horizontal line as the long frieze of the Chinese Horses and functions as a transition to the deeper panels. Due to the slope of the floor, it dominates the graphic composition of the second third of the Axial Gallery. This depiction, incomplete but of impressive dimensions, is comparable to those of the Hall of the Bulls in every respect. Only the outline has been reproduced here, using similar graphic conventions: curved horns, the poll, the massive muzzle and chin, a central stripe and the divided edge of the cheek (the jaw and beginning of the dewlap). No detail of the interior is recorded, neither the eye nor markings of the coat. The awkward location of this bull prompted the artist to create the lines with a series of dots. using a tool long enough to bridge the great distance between his hand and the wall. This technique was used for the main anatomical features (forehead, muzzle and chin), and daubing was employed elsewhere.

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70 The second and third Chinese horses complete the composition initially dominated by the four red cows. One of these, painted on the ceiling, marks with its tail the boundary between the two equids.

The three panels of the central sector of the Axial Gallery occupy a keeled space, 8 metres long and with an average width of 4 metres. The two panels of the Great Black Bull and the Hemione are located on different levels of the left wall, while the Falling Cow is on the right wall. This is one of the major sequences of decoration at Lascaux. extending continuously from the entrance of the Hall of the Bulls to this point. These three panels assemble 35 animals, 7 signs and 32 indeterminate markings.

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71 Some distance away, this head of a bull, painted on the upper level of the wall, dominates the group of depictions of the panel of the Falling Cow.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:43 pm

THE PANEL OF THE GREAT BLACK BULL

The figures here are located on two panels, formed by two broad adjacent concavities and separated from each other by a subvertical ridge. The base of this group runs horizontally over 7 metres, overhanging the present-day floor, which slopes from 1.8 metres near the entrance to 2.8 metres at the far end.

A dozen figurative images, thematically restricted to aurochs, horses and a feline, have a very uneven distribution (ill. 72). On the panel to the left, which only comes into sight after the first constriction of the corridor, there are no fewer than six aurochs whose outlines merge into the mass of black colour of the seventh bovine, the Great Black Bull. Other, more modest figures are identifiable to both sides of this group. There are two sketches of equids and possibly an ibex. Some signs, two cruciform and one branching, complete the tableau. The second panel comprises a large horse and a very inconspicuous head of a feline. The composition is completed by a number of signs, including a branching sign in front of the solitary horse.

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72 Panel of the Great Black Bull. The distribution of the animal figures on the two wings of this panel, which is composed around a vertical ridge, is very uneven. The confronted equids of the panel of the Hemione occupy the lower frieze of the wall.

The Great Black Bull (ill. 73) faces the entrance of the sanctuary and, at 3.71 metres long and 1.93 metres tall, is the most monumental work of the Axial Gallery. Two factors accentuate the hull's sheer size: the way in which the black hide is depicted against the flawless background and a lack of neighbouring figures of comparable size. Most of the anatomical features are represented, except for the front left hoof. The morphology of the animal is comparable to that of the great bovines of the Hall of the Bulls. The treatment of the horns is classic, with a double curve for the element in the foreground and a simple curve for the one behind. The same is true of the outline of the muzzle, where a continuous spiral curve represents the nasal opening, the upper lip and the external margin in succession. The hooves have an asymmetrical bilobate form, and the eye is shown.

The entire animal has been sprayed, with the exception of the horns, the line of the back and the tail. Only rarely are gaps in the colouration visible on the lower two thirds, even in those areas that are close to extremely uneven surfaces. This implies that colour was sprayed in different directions in order to paint even the smallest projections and hollows. Some gaps were left in this huge area of colour on purpose in order to preserve the figures below, particularly the two red cows. The homogeneity of the spread of colour has been broken up through the use of different techniques. This transitional zone follows a regular curve, from the nape to the thigh. Above this, a brush has been used to finish the work. Despite difficulties identifying the first red cow, due to its location within the coat of the Great Black Bull, it is nevertheless possible to identify almost all the elements of its silhouette, with the exception of the left forelimb. This figure is comparable with those on the ceiling at the entrance to the Axial Gallery, in particular the Red Cow with the Black Collar. (...)

The second red cow has very similar proportions and outlines, but is not as complete as only its forequarters are shown. Generally, this unusual technique is restricted to the smallest figures. Nevertheless, at the lower border of the application of colour a black line tenuously extends the abdominal margin with the beginning of a leg. Difficulties of access may explain the incomplete nature of this figure. The absence of hooves on the two forelimbs is not an exceptional feature at Lascaux. The profile of the forehead is demarcated by a broken line. One peculiarity of this painting is the absence of the withers, following a straight cervical-dorsal contour. Anatomical features drawn with a brush are rare, but this technique has been used on the horns, the ear and part of the line of the belly. Other elements, such as the head, the neck, the thoracic region or the forelimbs, were sprayed. The colour of the animal's coat becomes progressively weaker from the base of the neck to the rear.

The line of the back of the imposing aurochs obliterates four aurochs heads in a line, all facing towards the entrance. This frieze is 1.8 metres long, from the head of the Great Black Bull to the beginning of its croup. The heads are yellow (ill. 74) and nor immediately recognizable: only the horns extend beyond the black mass; the rest is overwhelmed by the very dense coat of the animal (ill. 75).

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73 The Great Black Bull. This large aurochs, whose entire body is blanketed with black colour, is one of the most symbolic figures of the Lascaux Cave.

The first head, at the extreme left of this composition, can only be identified by its horns, which alternate with those of the Great Black Bull, and forehead, the line of which crosses the bull's eye. The second head has more details -- notably the eye which is only sketched. The third aurochs head is the most complete, representing the beginning of the line of the throat, the muzzle and the mandible. The scatter of colour for the coat is similar to that of the great bulls of the Hall of the Bulls, supporting an affiliation with the bovines of the first hall. An identical conformation of the horns is also seen in the final head. There are fewer dots on the cheek, although they are just as complete as on the preceding figure. None of the four heads overlap the red cow below, which is undoubtedly why the first two figures are so incomplete.

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74 These three yellow aurochs heads belong to the first figures drawn on this panel. They were, to a great extent, obliterated by the silhouette of the Great Black Bull.

A yellow equid, cur in half by a black branching sign, stands in front of the Great Black Bull. This figure occupies a marginal position in the composition of the frieze, at the edge of the left panel. It is limited to elements in uniform flat colours. The head, neck and body are depicted, and the division of the flank of the animal into an 'M'-shape suggests a relationship with other equids in the Axial Gallery - notably with the second Chinese horse, located on the facing wall.

On the withers of the red cow behind the Great Black Bull there are the black, very tenuous outlines of another animal, seemingly a horse. It is possible to discern the line of the back, the croup, the tail, the hind leg in the foreground and the line of the belly. The forequarters merge into the black thigh of the aurochs. (... ) The animal appears to have been headless.

The last figure of this panel is also difficult to define, as it is buried by the uniform black thigh of the Great Black Bull and by the red neck of the cow to the rear. A second figure, just as inconspicuous as the former, adds to the confusion of the lines. The entire figure is black. Image processing reveals the outline of an animal with a stocky shape, a very small head and a weakly indented back, with the tail reduced to a short appendage. We could tentatively interpret the animal as an ibex.

The second wing of the panel is marked by a very large silhouette of an equid (ill. 76), which, at more than 2 metres long, must be classed among the most imposing horses of the cave. A horizontal fissure in the wall partially underlines the painting, from the front right hoof to the left extremity of the body. The forelimbs extend beyond the imaginary line of the floor created by this natural formation, which has the effect of thrusting the figure forwards, evoking a gallop. All anatomical parts have been depicted. The eye is represented by two small, slightly arched and opposed lines, although this feature - unusual at Lascaux -- is difficult to see in the very dense colour of the coat. A strong dilation of the abdominal region highlights the difficulties experienced by the artist here, working in a framework that is limited by two natural formations. Image processing shows that he made several corrections to the line of the belly. The underlying formation obscures part of the flank, reducing the depth of the body, hence the great dilation of the shape.

A second narrowing of the Axial Gallery marks the entrance to the locality of the Upside-down Horse. The gallery retains its 'keyhole' cross section. On the same left side, 1.8 metres above the present floor, is an unobtrusive figure of an animal- an abbreviated silhouette of a feline sprayed on to the wall. The ears, forehead and square muzzle of the animal are shown, but their separation and the technique used have added to the uncertainty surrounding this figure.

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75 Depiction (after image processing) of the heads of the yellow aurochs hidden by the silhouette of the Great Black Bull.

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76 Isolated on the right wing of the panel of the Great Black Bull, the Galloping Horse is one of the most imposing depictions of an equid at the site, a distinction it shares with the red and black horse of the Hall of the Bulls and the two confronted horses engraved on the ceiling of the Apse.

THE PANEL OF THE HEMIONE

This modest panel contains only three horses. The one furthest to the right merges with the convoluted wall, while at the centre of the tableau two equids (ill. 77), one of them incomplete, face each other. This group occupies the stratum below the Great Black Bull.

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77 These two representations of equids painted face to face are drawn on one of the quite uncommon, relatively flat surfaces of the lower level of the Axial Gallery.

Despite the use of only one colour (yellow), the 'hemione' (an extinct wild ass) is quite detailed; only the extremities, the hooves and the tip of the nose are absent. The differentiation between horse and hemione was based on several observations: the more developed ears, the slender neck, the very steep croup and the convex lower line, characteristics that are more typical of the hemione than of the horse. Nevertheless, one finds these same elements, but more scattered, on many of the Lascaux horses. The differences observed merely put this figure on the borderline between the two species. The animal is not sufficiently distinct from the others to be identified unreservedly as a hemione, and we should therefore conclude that there are no hemiones in the Lascaux bestiary. Moreover, to date, not a single bone oft his animal has been recovered in the Upper Palaeolithic of Western Europe.

The second horse lies between the head and the complete animal. Only its forequarters are shown, but it has its own features nevertheless: a particularly developed poll, a less pronounced transition from the mane to the back and the unbroken line of the heavy front body.

The natural wall reliefs have been used extensively in the depiction of the last horse of this small panel. The only painted element is a very elongated yellow field, which maintains a constant width over its first 'hemione', at chest height and extending from the head to the right forelimb. The stencil technique is identical. The same goes for their orientation and inclination. The natural upper line of the panel, highlighted by lateral lighting, reveals the neck, the line of the back and the croup of the animal. The particular morphology of the wall also suggests the presence of the tail and the beginning of a hindlimb. At Lascaux, figures in which the background has made such a major contribution are the exception, and this is the most extreme example.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:45 pm

THE FALLING COW

This panel assembles most of the different forms of composition encountered at Lascaux (ill. 78), including animals in single file, as mirror images, in tiers or in groups. Three types of animal share the space: the aurochs (the Falling Cow, roughly in the centre), the ibex (the animals facing each other on the far left of the panel) and the horse, numerous examples of which are scattered across the entire surface. There are two large quadrangular signs, one between the two ibexes, the other in front of the aurochs (ill. 79). Of the 23 recorded figures, 20 are animals and 3 are signs. The interpretation of 29 other representations ranges from undetermined signs to mere traces of activity.

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78 Positioning of the figures on the panel of the Falling Cow.

The horizontally elongated frieze extends over 7.2 metres and is no more than 1.2 metres high. All the animals have been sprayed (both their contours and their hides). Still, the end result is not monotonous as this panel has a wider range of colours than any other at Lascaux, a skilful unison of the background colour with fields of uniformly flat pigment. A prime example is the black piebald horse, located on the right-hand side of the panel.

The number of figurative works is high, given the available space, but there are few superimpositions and they are always very marginal. The artist or artists overcame space constraints by miniaturizing the horses. which are among the smallest figures of this gallery and of the Hall of the Bulls. This is perhaps surprising considering how difficult it is to paint miniature subjects on a coarse-grained background, even when spraying is the only method used.

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79 Absent from the Hall of the Bulls, quadrangular signs are the dominant geometric unit in the Axial Gallery. Nevertheless, their occurrence is limited to the right wall, on the panel of the Chinese Horses and that of the Falling Cow, where they appear twice.

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80 The graphic surroundings of the Falling Cow remain limited to horses, to quadrangular signs and, at its edge, to ibexes. This distribution is not dissimilar to that of the panel of the Great Black Cow in the Nave.

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81 The spatial organization of this panel is subordinate to the Falling Cow, which dominates the whole due to both its dimension and its position at the apex of the composition.

The spatial organization of the panel is determined by the Falling Cow (ill. 80), which dominates the whole due to both its elevated position and its dimensions. This is one of the most accomplished figures of the cave. Its originality lies both in the abundance and the quality of the anatomical details and in its motion, which is rare in Palaeolithic arc (ill. 81). Its contracted hindlimbs are drawn flattened against the body: the right one follows the outer edge of the abdomen; the other, its outline indicated by a blank area, is drawn upon the flank of the animal. Originally, this figure was called the 'Leaping Cow,' but its posture does not suggest leaping. Closer analysis shows that the hindquarters do not lie along the extension of the forequarters, but there is pronounced twisting of the pelvic region, associated with a forward projection of the forelimbs and the head. The rotation of the pelvis outlines the iliac crest and reduces the bulge formed by the articulation of the tail. The cow is clearly in an unstable position, and may be either slipping or falling.

The Falling Cow has a very delicate head, with the horns projected forwards. Denser dots have been used on the nasal opening, which has been partially outlined by a calcite outgrowth of more recent origin. The black tail, highlighted by a red line, follows a long and very sinuous trajectory, curving a few times before crossing the tight hindlimb to finish below the abdomen. The ensemble of lines and panels of colour have been sprayed, although a brush was used on the snout and horns - hence the latter's dotted appearance due to the existence of reliefs that fixed the pigment here and there. Avoiding this difficulty, the use of lateral stencils on the lines of the body, the head and the front and hindlimbs produced an unbroken line with an average width of 3 centimetres. Prior to this phase, the oblong area marking the central part of the body was coated with ted pigment. This superimposition of colours made the surfaces mauve.

The Confronted Ibexes (ill. 83), located at the extreme left of the panel, are of a similar technique and size, and differ only in some anatomical details and their colour, one being black and the other yellow. A red quadrangular sign is inserted between the two belligerents. The black ibex (ill. 82) is noteworthy: few animals are depicted in such a precise and consummate manner with so few lines (six in total). The two horns seem to cross at their base in order to depict both the mandible and the bridge of the nose and muzzle. An identical technique is used for the chest and the two forelimbs as well as for the cervical-dorsal line and the tail. There is a slight convexity on the line of the back, suggesting the withers and distinguishing the alignment of the neck from the back and croup. The beginning of the rump is sketched. The conciseness of the outline makes the animal instantly recognizable and accentuates the stocky appearance of the silhouette. The powerful character of the animal comes through, emphasized by its developed horns. The lines were sprayed with the use of a stencil. (...)

Although more complete than its black counterpart, the yellow ibex does not have all the classical secondary anatomical details, in particular the ears, the eye, the beard and the hooves. (...) It differs from the black ibex in the angular shape of the croup, undoubtedly because the artist did not wish to paint over the horse to its tear. The rail is a simple, straight mark, without the usual curvature. The coarse head is nor detailed. The divided line of the belly is a unique feature. This could be a correction, but it is more likely to mark the border of the twofold division of the coat along the loin, which is darker over the upper part of the body and white around the belly of living ibexes. This animal, facing the back of the gallery, seems to be the product of a less skilful hand. The techniques used (spraying and stencil) are the same, although masking is less prominent and limited to the inner edge of the front legs and the outside of the ventral line. The treatment of the horns is incomplete.

The first group of horses face the entrance and occupy the entire left half of the panel. Three of them are aligned in the upper section; the others, which are incomplete, are distributed around the Confronted Ibexes. There is a sketchy image of a yellow horse at the extreme left of this group, recognizable by two small indentations (one for the poll and the other for the transition from the mandible to the line of the throat). Its characteristic elongated form is linked to the choice of anatomical parts depicted and its animation. The head, the neck and the back are aligned along the same horizontal line. The animal stretches its neck forwards, its head greatly raised, in a motion covering the croup of the animal in front of it.

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82 This black ibex is depicted in a precise and consummate manner with only six lines. The lines were created by the juxtaposition of impacts of colouring matter sprayed on the wall.

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83 Located at the extreme left of the panel, these two ibexes were created in a similar way and are of roughly equal size; only a few anatomical details and their colour differentiate them. The suggested liveliness has the quality of a confrontation. A red quadrangular sign was inserted between the two belligerents.

The split tail and the bayonet form of the forelimbs contribute to the latter's (ill. 84) individuality. The flanks and chest are a lighter brown than the neck and back. (...) At first sight, both horses look a similar shape, an impression that is highlighted by the colours used, but there are some differences. The anterior-posterior dimensions of the forelimbs of the horse on the right are very long and thick, and they look out of proportion. The front hooves are also somewhat disproportionate in size, and the bulge of the knee has not been depicted. The left hindlimb is shown by an oblique straight line, extending from the knee. The right hindlimb has no hoof, but the outline corresponds perfectly with the majority of horses at Lascaux. The thickening of the triangular left lower forelimb cannot be interpreted as a correction; the desired form was modified by a second, denser border.

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84 Orientated towards the entrance, as are all the horses of the panel of the Falling Cow, this group of three equids, located above the Confronted Ibexes, share in the extraordinary agitation that dominates this composition.

The four sketches of single horses located to both sides of the Confronted Ibexes have very varied forms. (...) The red horse under the black ibex is worth a particular mention as it has sometimes been interpreted as another ibex. The thrown-back head -- a position that would place the horns along the line of the back -- seems to be the only criterion to justify this interpretation. However, image processing shows that the colour of the head blends with that of the neck, indicating that there are no horns. The indentation at shoulder level, possibly the end of a mane, also suggests that this is a horse. (...)

Standing in front of the cow and facing the back of the gallery, the second group of horses contains four superimposed subjects. The most detailed horse is set in a deep concavity at the centre of the panel. Despite its modest dimensions and the constraints of a coarse-grained surface, it has a lot of anatomical details, particularly in its coat, the arch of the tip of the nose, the chin and the nostril. The well-developed tail descends to the imaginary floorline, retaining a constant width.

The outlines of a smaller horse painted immediately above are not as precise. This animal occupies an intermediate position in the panel, both in terms of its location in the middle of the group and in its degree of sophistication. It is given many more details than the other two on its right or above. Its contours are not underlined. This horse was almost entirely sprayed, although a brush was used on the knees and the hocks. Both techniques were used on the hooves.

There is an inconspicuous, orange-coloured sketch of a horse directly in front of the quadrangular red sign. It is difficult to identify because there are so few details. The head is represented only by the triangular bridge of the nose. The neck, which is very short, but painted with the poll, has a diffuse periphery, while the line of the back shows a slight curvature. The quadrangular sign is also adjacent to another horse with a yellow coat, the head, neck and back of which can be recognized without too much difficulty. (...)

The third group of horses, all turned to the right, underlies the image of the Falling Cow and is referred to as the frieze of the Small Horses. Five horses, aligned along the same level, have been traditionally assigned to the frieze, but there is a sixth individual on the far left. It is highly inconspicuous with its poorly contrasted lines and sketchy outline, and the poor quality of the substratum has also played a part. Only the animal's forequarters and back have been depicted. One of the forelimbs breaks off in the middle, while the other has no hoof.

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85 Despite its modest dimensions and location in the midst of a multitude of small horses, it is still this outline of an equid that first catches our eye and is remembered.

The second subject of this frieze is fairly accomplished and possesses all the details of the external outline while being uniform internally. The line of the belly shows a peculiar sinuosity, formed by two juxtaposed curves, and the fetlocks on the forelimbs are very developed. The uniform brown colour was sprayed and gives form to the body, neck and head. This outline was subsequently underscored by discreet black lines, which were also used on the ears, the lines of the back and the belly, and the legs.

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86 This horse in the Axial Gallery is one of the very rare images of an equid with a piebald coat. The underlying surface has been used in the play of colours.

The third subject of the frieze was painted on a slightly overhanging surface. It has a more conventional general form, including a pronouncedly convex abdominal line: No details have been forgotten, except the fetlocks. The brown body is partly covered in black around the forequarters, and in a more scattered manner elsewhere. A brush was used for the tip of the nose and the lower lip.

The remarkable fourth horse (ill. 85) has most of its anatomical features. The work is sturdy, but as a result some details are blurred - notably the ears, which disappear in the very thick poll. Nevertheless, the silhouette does not look heavy due to the undulating, slender body of the horse. The miniaturization of this figure on this coarse wall made it difficult to paint, and consequently the artist was only able to include certain details, such as the tip of the nose, the chin or the curve of the mandible. Two colours have been used: brick red for the general silhouette of the body and the beginning of the tail; and black to give structure to the form and the limbs, and for the two neck markings.

The fifth horse (ill. 86) stands out owing to its piebald coat, marked Out by areas of black colour on the white base of the underlying surface. The ears are clearly separated, planted perpendicular to the axis of the bridge of the nose. The silhouette of the sixth and last horse was entirely sprayed and, with its restrained lines, contrasts with the more accomplished motifs of the composition. The outline of the massive head, the neck, the back, the croup and the tail emerge from a yellow field encircled by black, but the other anatomical details are absent.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:48 pm

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87 General view of the locality of the Upside-down Horse, at the far end of the Axial Gallery.

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88 Numerous anatomical details have been included in this yellow horse: the two marks on the neck, the tip of the nose (with the nasal opening), the lower lip and the two ears in the poll.

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89 Arrangement of the panel of the Upside-down Horse. The two wings of this composition are aligned around a very large figure, the form of which is not unlike that of a tree.

THE LOCALITY OF THE UPSIDE-DOWN HORSE

The third part of the Axial Gallery is a more confined space with a much more complex architecture. A major constriction at the end of the passage marks the threshold to the locality of the Upside-down Horse (ill. 87). The gallery continues as a meander, and the ceiling becomes appreciably lower. At the foot of the left wall a broad fissure has caused the lower level to detach - hence the name 'false pillar' given to this formation. The Upside-down Horse is wrapped around the false pillar. To the left are several cavities, all a few centimetres in size. Opposite, a deep horizontal groove, some 20 centimetres high, underlies the entire Red Panel.

Here, the fairly large dimensions of the figures and the narrowness of the locality give the impression of a dense concentration of animals. Each of these walls is decorated with a composition - the Upside-down Horse to the left and the Red Panel to the right.

THE PANEL OF THE UPSIDE-DOWN HORSE

The Panel of the Upside-down Horse contains thirty-seven figures, only four of which are animals, all horses (ill. 89). The yellow horse and the Upside-down Horse, which are at the same level but separate, are complete. The outlines of the third horse are higher up but limited to the forequarters and part of the back. On the right, overlooking the Upside-down Horse, is the head of a fourth equid. A black line at the top right of the panel may be the end of a leg. There are a number of signs, including a series of ten red dots aligned horizontally, a field of red marks grouped in a triangular formation and an angular red sign above the croup of the uppermost horse. A large tree-like sign extends parallel to the fissure, partially obliterating the two superimposed horses on the left. Several black dots, either isolated or in groups, underline the whole panel.

The wall juts out just before this panel, hiding the yellow horse (ill. 88) from view. It is very detailed, with two neck markings, a particularly well-executed tip of the nose (drawn with the nasal orifice), a lower lip and two ears on top of the forelock. The black hooves are oblong at the front but less oval on the hindlimbs. The spraying technique was used to depict most of this animal, with the exception oft he tail and the tip of the nose, which were painted with a brush. (... ) The attachment of the tail is identical to that of the Galloping Horse of the panel of the Great Black Bull- very short and horizontal at its start, then forming a right angle and continuing almost vertically, away from the body. These graphic conventions recur several times within the space of a few metres, suggesting that a single person may have been responsible. (...)

Only the forequarters and the back of the polychrome horse located above (ill. 91) have been depicted. The arch of the mane follows the line of the back and makes the neck of this animal look very tense, an attitude stressed by the beginning of; horizontal head. Although not exceptional, the use of three colours is nonetheless quite rare, particularly the use of three true colours that is to say, the background was not utilized in order to provide an additional hue. Furthermore, the distribution of the colours follows a reasoning that is stratigraphic in its sequence: yellow rendering the two legs and the lower part of the body, violet-red for the neck and the back, and black for the uninterrupted upper line.

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90 Despite the very disturbed structure of the background and the dynamism given to the Upside-down Horse, it retains proportions in every detail identical to those of the other horses at the site. Moreover, there is not a single observation point from which this subject can be viewed in its entirety, which must have made the positioning of this figure extremely difficult.

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91 The use of three tones in the construction of this incomplete image of a horse is not very common, particularly as they are three true colours (for this work, the background was not used to provide a supplementary hue).

Despite the very uneven form of the support and its animated nature, the Upside-down Horse (ill. 90) retains proportions in every way identical to those of the other horses at the site. No anatomical elements have been left out. The large figure extends around the false pillar, its head following the lateral margin of the fissure. The forequarters remain visible during the entire approach, but only on entering the meander is it possible to see the hindquarters. There is no part of the gallery from which the figure is visible in its entirety. The uniqueness of this figure lies in its animation. The position of the body evokes a fall, a motion rendered not only by the orientation given to the image of the horse (the forequarters of which are pointed towards the apex of the vault and the hindlimbs towards the back of the gallery), but also by specific anatomical details (notably the ears, which are turned back towards the rear). The unusually dilated nostril also contributes to this uniqueness. The yellow pigment covers the entire body, without the slightest gap. The slight contrast in this material is due to consecutive episodes of spraying, repeated in different directions in order to cover all the projections on the wall. Black was used for the hooves and the mane, which were sprayed, and for the ears and the line of the back, which were drawn with a brush.

Another figure in this space is unique in Palaeolithic parietal art. It takes the form of two large red branching lines, positioned vertically and facing each other. The outline extends to a height of 2.4 metres and reaches a maximum width of 1.6 metres. The base is only some 40 centimetres above the floor. Despite its dimensions, it is only possible to make out these outlines after a careful perusal of the wall, and indeed little comment has been made on them. Andre Leroi-Gourhan thought they were the antlers of a cervid -- an interpretation to which we do not subscribe. Leroi-Gourhan hypothesized that the entire graphic series of a given sector may begin and end with an image of a cervid. This branching drawing at the back of the Axial Gallery would then pair up with the black stag painted at its entrance.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:50 pm

THE RED PANEL

This final composition is quite inconspicuous and has only rarely been mentioned. Its very remote location has played a major role in this, as there is very little space for an observer to view the work. This panel is of interest, however: it contains the only bison in the Axial Gallery and boasts graphic and chromatic homogeneity. (... )

The panel is trapezoidal with a sub-horizontal base. It decreases in height from 1.8 metres at the entrance to 0.7 metres at the far end, and is 6 metres long. A bison and two horses are depicted in red and cover the entire surface of the wall. They share the space with a crosier-shaped figure, drawn in the channel of the roof, a few single or grouped dots and some rods.

The large figure of the bison (ill. 92) turned to the right is situated in an oblong concavity inside a 1.8-metre-Iong and 1.13-metre-high frame. The morphology of the wall entailed an enlargement of the body, which looks bulky. Shaped like a lyre, the horns differ from those of the other bison of Lascaux, most of which are crescent-shaped. The black hooves do not have the cloven shape associated with bovines, and their oval form is more reminiscent of equids. The raised tail resembles that of the bison of the Shaft, but the tuft is in this case turned towards the back. The resulting animation of the bison may have been unintentional, as the artist may have wanted to avoid the horse located behind it. The outline of this figure was executed entirely by sp raying. There is a short, black, curved band in the upper part of the unfilled area.

The middle figure is a horse (ill. 94). It covers quite an extensive area considering the limited amount of space available, and fits closely between the channel in the ceiling and the strata joint that underlines the entire panel. The mane comes quite far forward, accentuating the outline and the poorly positioned head. The sloping chest is straight, as is the line of the belly, which more or less follows the edge of the ledge. The parallel and stiff forelimbs are aligned vertically, whereas the hindlimbs are at a slight angle. The tail is short, has a constant breadth and is attached unusually low on the body. It is noteworthy that there are two parallel bands on the withers, which might be where the shoulder markings have been placed too low. The entire field of colour was sprayed. Only the ears, the muzzle, the lower line of the head and the beginning of the neck were highlighted using a brush.

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92 The morphology of the wall determined or supported the general form of the body of this bison with a red outline, increasing its size and creating a massive silhouette.

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93 Very rarely mentioned, this second, somewhat misshapen horse at the Red Panel is the last figurative theme of the Axial Gallery.

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94 Painted with two other red figures, a horse behind and a bison in front, this very large equid fits narrowly between the channel in the ceiling and the fold of the layer that underlines the entire panel.

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95 Crosier-shaped sign, the final structured element of the Axial Gallery.

The third horse (ill. 93) of this panel is rarely mentioned and is the last figure of the Axial Gallery. The figure almost entirely fills the triangular-shaped space and, as a result, is greatly distorted. The line approximately follows the natural boundaries of the wall, defined by the edge of the channel in the ceiling, in particular the line of the head, the mane, the back and the croup, which are arranged in a straight line at 45º. Opposite, the lines of the throat and the chest are aligned along the edge of a deep concavity. The artist more or less adapted to the constraints of the wall, playing with its irregularities by adopting certain shapes and evading others that were perhaps less suggestive. This dialogue with the background resulted in a somewhat unusual image. The colouring matter was applied to the whole figure by spraying, except for the lower line which was traced with a brush.

The ceiling has been virtually unused. Behind the last horse is a single crosier-shaped figure (ill. 95), in the same red as the rest of this panel and made up of four segments of uneven length. Beyond the Upside-down Horse, a small sub-horizontal passage opens and extends over a dozen metres or so. This final gallery is 0.8 metres high and, on average, 1 metre wide. At the end of the 1950s, the floor was lowered by some 20 centimetres as a result of excavations led by Andre Glory, who hoped to find other extensions to the cave in this direction. Only four traces of painting were recorded: on the ceiling and the right wall.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:51 pm

The Passageway

The present-day view of the structure of the cave has led to the segment of the gallery connecting the Hall of the Bulls to the Nave being referred to as the Passageway. It is doubtful whether, for Palaeolithic people, this corridor would have had the transitional function implied by this name. Indeed, the great concentration of figures on the walls of this passage indicates that it should not be considered as a simple punctuation mark between two much more developed sectors (and therefore of no great significance) but, rather, that it had great intrinsic importance in the eves of those who frequented it.

This corridor, which was originally a lot lower before alteration work to create more head room, is straight, although numerous clues suggest that it was cut as a meander, supported by the succession of hollows and projections that extend alternately along both sides of the passage. This relief allows the space to be divided into five parts of unequal importance. The particular topography determined, to a certain extent, the distribution of the figures, which are grouped in clusters at each of these localities, rather than in friezes as in the preceding spaces. The ceiling was just 1.2 metres high on average before the discovery, which encouraged the artists to use the accessible parts of the roof, except for the remotest part of the passage. Up to this point the smoothness of the wall was only disturbed by a narrow, winding channel running along the axis of the ceiling, but here corrosion has affected the surface over several square metres.

Judging by the condition of the rock surfaces, active phenomena of corrosion on the walls - their effects exaggerated by the relative narrowness of the passage have been extremely detrimental to the preservation of the figures. The narrowness of the passage also brought visitors closer to the walls, which were consequently more exposed to abrasion. Effectively, only some fragmentary (mostly painted or engraved) parietal depictions survive in the Passageway, and many are undecipherable for the modern observer. The presence of numerous traces of colourants in the smaller cavities of the rock suggests that the entire wall and ceiling were once covered with figures.

Andre Glory identified 279 figures, a remarkably high number compared with the Hall of the Bulls (130) or the Nave (79), although these latter two are much more extensive spaces. Of the 221 recognized animal representations, there are no fewer than 158 horses, 33 bovines (17 of which are bison), 10 ibexes and 4 stags. There are only 57 signs. As in the Hall of the Bulls, there are no quadrangular geometric figures.

A more recent analysis was carried out by D. Vialou, [22] taking into account the previous interpretative studies and tracings. He came up with 377 figures, broken down into 239 complete or fragmentary animals, 81 signs and 57 indeterminate units. The difference lies in the decision to take the fragmentary and unintelligible markings into account, which were previously judged as insignificant. The studies of Andre Leroi-Gourhan demonstrated their particular interest. This difference also highlights the difficulties of interpretation as a result of the very poor condition of the evidence.

This corridor's comparatively modest proportions are reflected in the size of the figures, which are in a smaller format and were dearly adapted to the limited space. This does not apply to the parietal depictions framing the entrance of the Passageway, however, which are not dissimilar to those of the Hall of the Bulls and Axial Gallery. Some areas of 'cauliflower' calcite have survived along the first few metres as well as in the central part of the Passageway. As a result, the same techniques have been used here as in the Hall of the Bulls. In the central part of the Passageway, somewhat apart from the other compositions, which are mainly on The right wall, the outlines of a headless brown horse have been drawn on this background (ill. 96).

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96 The painted outline of a headless horse survives on a small surface that was spared by processes of natural corrosion.

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97 Processes of corrosion on the underlying limestone have most notably affected the walls of the Passageway, as demonstrated by this depiction of a horse, the uniform colour of which has been heavily degraded.

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98 Originally interpreted as a bovine, this animal figure, with a much accentuated ventral line, seems to represent a horse. Moreover, an interpretation of the front hoof as cloven, which would resemble that of an aurochs or a bison, does not appear to be correct: the supposed second claw looks more like the pastern.

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99 In the depths of a concavity, at a greater distance from exchanges of air than the other figures, this horse, engraved and painted in black, remains one of the best-preserved elements of the Passageway.

On the left-hand side as you enter the gallery, traces of an equid (ill. 97) survive, shown by its bottom line, fore- and hindlimbs and belly. The throat, neck and head, painted on a more exposed projection of the wall, have been totally destroyed. Of the rest of the body, only traces of incised lines remain.

On the facing wall, the group of lines formed by the tail, a hindlimb and a forelimb, together with the beginning of the belly, has often been interpreted as a bovine, but it could actually be another horse (ill. 98). Indeed, the cloven nature of the front hoof does not seem obvious, because the supposed second claw resembles the pastern of an equid. Furthermore, the curving brown line of the belly is far too pronounced to belong to an aurochs, whether cow or bull.

It is crossed by regularly spaced, parallel black dashes, which resemble the long hair of horses in winter and spring. There is also a particularly well-executed black horse hoof overlying this same ventral stripe.

Beyond this, the calcite is replaced by limestone bedrock. As a result, a combination of engraving and painting techniques were used to create the parietal works, stretching from the Passageway to the Chamber of the Felines.

Among this collection of deteriorated figures are several less damaged representations. Some have very clear outlines; others show a certain originality, such as a head of a bison turned to the left at the centre of the deepest concavity of the right wall, crowned by crescent-shaped horns.

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100 This engraved horse differs from the others in its turned-back right hindlimb, an idiosyncrasy possibly rendering the impression of perspective.

In front, a tail-less horse takes its place in the niche of a cupola. This first concentration of figures is completed by a procession of horses heading towards the back.

In order to find some traces of black pigment in the third part of the gallery, it is necessary to move 3 metres along the left side of the ceiling. Here, one sees the hooves and the croup of a horse, very close to the more complete and very pronounced outline of another horse, the hooves of which are also painted. It is distinguished by its hindlimb, which is folded back towards the inside of the body. This suggests that the animal is rolling on the ground. Some distance away, a large headless horse completes this composition.

Unlike the previous figures, those in the fourth section are distributed more clearly along the right-hand side. At the edge of the composition, which is once again dedicated to the horse, lateral lighting reveals the head of an ibex with very developed horns. It is superimposed over an equid, the discrete outline of which is interrupted only by the extremities of the black fore- and hindlimbs.

The fifth and last part of the corridor exhibits a greater density of figures, and the outlines are relatively better preserved. The cavity on the right, extending all the way to the ceiling, is dominated by two themes: the horse and, to a lesser extent, the aurochs. More than thirty subjects are spread out like a fan. An extremely beautiful representation of an equid (ill. 99) is the major figure of this panel. A field of flat black colour reproduces the shape, which is given structure by engraving, bur also by a chromatically denser line suggesting the sinuosity of the line of the back. The background is harder at this point, enabling the artist to use a brush to draw this line. Another horse (ill. 100) stands less than 1 metre above this figure, at the centre of the broad composition. With its very small head and turned-back hindlimb at a 30° angle, it stands out from the others. The proportions of these animals are more or less the same -- around 60 centimetres, with a few exceptions around 80 centimetres -- and are fairly representative of the other figures in this sector. The peculiarity of the horses of the middle level lies in the greatly exaggerated development of their tail ends.

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101 The reduced dimensions of this cow head are surprising, but all of the anatomical details specific to this theme are represented.

Several representations of bovines complement the horses. One large aurochs (ill. 101) is superimposed over two horses. A very fine cow head occupies the upper part of the panel. Its less open facial angle and slender horns enable us to identify it as a cow. Painted in red and then engraved, this head has escaped natural chemical arrack to some degree due to its position in a hollow in the wall facing the entrance to the gallery. A second head, facing in the opposite direction, underlies this image. Placed immediately next to each other, the identical outlines of these two figures show that the grouping of these bovines on a limited surface area is far from random.

Two inconspicuous ibex heads intervene between two groups of horses in front of the Apse, on the facing wall. The ibex on the left has engraved signs on its body, including real cruciforms, some others disjointed, and a series of superimposed bracketed motifs.

This long series of horses finishes on the right wing of this little panel. Located immediately next to the end of the Passageway, two complete horses are engraved one above the ocher. Finally, the most remote subject of the Passageway, the Bearded Horse (ill. 102), as Jacques Marsal liked to call it, marks the boundary between the frieze of the ibexes and the other panels of the Nave beyond. The Bearded Horse bears testament to Palaeolithic man's artistic skill: its neck, which stretches towards the entrance, showing the movement of the head, is accentuated by the low and slightly elongated body. This movement, reinforced by the turned-back left ear, indicates a certain aggressiveness in the animal. The body covers two projecting surfaces at a very oblique angle to each other. The subvertical axis of their interface is the boundary between the two sectors of the Passageway and the Nave.

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102 The Bearded Horse forms the topographic link between the Passageway, the Nave and the Apse. It is one of the most remarkable engravings of the sanctuary.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:54 pm

The Palimpsest of the Apse

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Examining the parietal iconography of the Apse in depth would certainly requite an entire book of its own. In fact, within this space of relatively modest dimensions, more than a thousand figures were painted or engraved, making up more than half of the representations in the cave, which itself contains approximately one tenth of the Palaeolithic parietal art discovered in France. For this reason, only the most representative and original figures will be reviewed here.

This very high concentration of engraved representations, augmented in the present state of preservation by a few rare, discreet fields of colour, does not even begin to reflect the visual impact that it must have had originally. There is a huge contrast between the figures here and those in the previous sectors. As you approach this area, entering from below, there is nothing to suggest the amazing profusion of animal and geometric motifs that is about to come into view up there. A few vestiges of colour certainly catch the eye, but not for long. To study the walls carefully, it is necessary to use lateral lighting: beneath the beam of the lamp, an unbelievable tangle of complete and fragmentary images emerges. The outlines of several hundred figures appear higgledy-piggledy before you, ranging in size from very large to a few decimetres or centimetres.

The density of the decoration increases from the entrance to the back, and from the ground to the ceiling. A lot of figures are engraved and unpainted; others bear traces of colour, which show how different the original condition must have been. Natural deterioration has affected the majority of the drawings, but it is also important to remember that the floor of this sector was lowered by, on average, 1 metre to make the Shaft more accessible. Morphologically, the Apse is not very different from the Nave or the Hall of the Bulls. C... ) From the ceiling, in the form of an oblong, shallow dome, the vault follows a very pronounced overhang, then reverts to a sloping ledge or bench, marked by a central projection, before finally reaching the floor as a sub-vertical wall. Only this last level is undecorated, except along the first few metres of the left wall. On the others, Andre Glory recognized a thematic distribution of the most remarkable figures. Each section is dominated by a specific theme: equids on the upper level, cervids in an intermediate position and bovids at the base. This distribution loses some of its unity when the more modest depictions are integrated.

The most remote part of this hall, in front of the descent towards the Shaft, is a special space. Both its shape, a quarter-sphere, and its location, adjoining the Apse, make it tempting to give it the name Apsidiole. The parietal depictions - or, more precisely, their proportions in relation to the smaller dimensions of this recess - show a rather accomplished level of execution. More than one hundred and fifty intact or vestigial animal or schematic figures share the available space. It basically has the same thematic distribution as in the Apse, but with just- two components: eighteen equids in the upper part and twenty-six cervids below. Ibexes occupy above all the left wall of this small hollow. Fourteen have been identified in total, although only three have been determined with any certainty. The aurochs and the bison make inconspicuous appearances.

A vertical fissure splits the decoration into two tableaux. The right panel, close to the beginning of the passage leading to the Shaft, contains sixty-seven signs and animal images. For the most part they occur on seemingly unrelated engraved surfaces. These fields, mostly geometric in nature but sometimes with no particular organization, are a peculiarity of the Apse. They repeatedly cover very large surfaces, hindering accurate interpretation and making the setting look like a palimpsest.

Complete animals are rare on the panel of the Apsidiole, partly due to the unfavourable conditions of preservation. There seems to be no recognizable pattern to the bestiary as a whole. To a large extent, horses and stags share the available space equally. The geometric motifs are quite interesting, both because of their quantity and the huge diversity of forms, with most of the Lascaux signs represented. One example has a particularly unique form that is reminiscent of the 'chimney'-style 'Placard type', also found at Cougnac, Pech-Merle and Cosquer. [23]

The stags on the left panel, most of which face the Shaft, take up almost three quarters of the accessible surface. Four of them (ill. 103), all fairly similar, are assembled in a 1.3-metre-long frieze, which underlies the entire panel. They all have complete outlines, which are engraved and bolstered by black lines on the dorsal, ventral and frontal structural contours. Colour has also been added to the flanks, where it takes on a brown hue. The antlers of the animals located at each end of the procession ate particularly large. The line of the floor has been influenced by two factors: the horizontal retreat of the wall and the original level of the fill, which reached as far as the forelimbs of the second cervid. The engraved forequarters of a fifth subject occupy a central position in the composition, although it must be dissociated from the group, which forms an intrinsically homogeneous work.

Two horses are engraved, head to tail, in the upper part of the panel. They have similar dimensions to the figures of the above-mentioned small frieze. The immediate geometric background is formed by numerous signs based on mostly parallel marking. Four adjacent quadrangular examples, in black, yellow and mauve, can be distinguished dearly. There are similar signs in the Nave, at the ends of the hindlimbs and the tail of the Great Black Cow.

The intervening wall between the small frieze of the painted and engraved stags and the head-to-tail horses is covered by a multitude of overlapping figures. Numerous outlines of cervids are present, along with three other, more or less aligned, quadrangular signs. (...)

After the Apsidiole, the Apse is a much more extensive space, but the morphology of the walls there, and its density of figures and distribution of themes, are all very similar to the Apsidiole. A diptych composed of two very large confronted horses dominates the decoration of the ceiling. One of them is yellow (ill. 104) with a black mane, line of the back, tail and fore- and hindlimbs. Its dimensions are in proportion with the large surface of this domed formation. It fits into a framework measuring 2.5 by 1.1 metres. Along with the ted and black horse of the Hall of the Bulls, it is one of the largest equids in the cave. The position of the ear, flattened back against the front of the mane, seems to confirm its aggressive stance.

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103 Close to the passage opening on to the Shaft, the base of the wall is decorated with a frieze of small painted and engraved stags. Before the modification of this section, the level of the floor was only a few centimetres below this group of cervids.

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104 Head of the yellow horse painted and engraved on the ceiling of the Apse. The aggressiveness produced by its location, confronting another equid, seems confirmed by the orientation of the ear, folded back against the start of the mane.

The other horse is less imposing in its proportions but still measures up to 1.9 metres from its head to tail end. It has a ted coat, but the head, the limbs and the line of the back are black. The very large head of an aurochs is inserted between these two animals, but there are also numerous further depictions of horses and some cervids in this area. The cervids are generally either very incomplete or miniaturized - the one located above the croup of the yellow horse, for example, is engraved with numerous anatomical details and is less than 25 centimetres long. Immediately below this oblong dome, the course of the wall takes on a pronounced overhang and then crosses a short projecting section. Coinciding with this double bend, the rock changes colour significantly. While the surfaces of the roof show no traces of a material that could have stained the straw-coloured underlying rock. all of the sloping surfaces (we call them ledges) have been covered by the 'dust of centuries', as Breuil liked to say. This increases the optical density of the background, which becomes brown or even anthracite grey. In the other sectors of the cave, Palaeolithic people ignored this type of of background, which was scarcely suitable for their activities. In the Apse, however, all the surfaces are covered in figures. This change in approach shows that they wanted to bring together engravings and paintings in the same location, marking the special value given to this place and its originality.

The decoration of the long panel formed by these two superimposed surfaces extends around the entire circumference of the hall. The number of figures, which is more limited at the front, increases in the direction of the Apsidiole. This is the case along both walls. The nature of the walls and the inaccessibility of certain sections have both contributed. It is likely that Palaeolithic man used a wooden construction for extra stability when he was engraving one very large cervid - the Stag with the Thirteen Arrows, which stands on the left wall and dominates the threshold of the Nave. The engraved surface is at least 2.25 metres high and 1.9 metres wide. Some traces of red and black coloured pigment survive, notably on the hooves. The series of signs covering the body and its periphery is heterogeneous: some evoke shapes of arrows, others signs with barbs, cross-like signs and hooked signs.

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105 With its half-folded fore- and hindlimbs, the movement given to the Fallen Stag is not unlike that of the Major Stag.

In front of this engraving facing right there is a sequence of animal depictions, punctuated at more or less regular intervals by large figures of stags, dominating the frieze with their imposing dimensions. The Fallen Stag (ill. 105), which is the closest to the above-mentioned large cervid and of an equivalent size, is only separated from the latter by a few seemingly meaningless engraved traces. The way in which its colouring extends over the antlers and the chest and its somewhat unusual posture make it different. The neck and the head are straight, the antlers turned down to the rear, and the forelimbs folded below the body. Two arrows - one engraved, the other painted - converge towards the centre of the figure.

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106 Two engraved stags confront each other on a dark-coloured background. This arrangement is found on several occasions in the sanctuary.

Up to this point, the elements of the decoration remain distinct. The first depictions of this level emerge perfectly from the background, barely disturbed by the presence of minor figures. Moving towards the right, however, the density of lines increases considerably. There is a third large stag, which is also engraved and painted in a static position. Immediately below, a very large figure is difficult to identify accurately, as it has anatomical characteristics shared by different types of animals. The double line of the back would suggest that there are two animals - one a horse, the other an aurochs. Two heads that might belong to these animals, however, are so disproportionate that this is just a hypothesis.

Less than 1 metre away, two confronted stags with clear outlines emerge visibly from the brown-black wall (ill. 106). Of far more modest dimensions than their predecessors, they boast almost mirror-image symmetry. One of the two rivals, the one on the left, is firmly planted on its forelimbs with its head raised; the other has a horizontal upper line, with the croup, the back and the neck all in the same alignment. Behind the cervid on the right and inside a quadrangular marking, an identical scene is repeated. Two ibexes are seen in confrontation, their outlines reduced to their heads. The whole field is covered with bands and geometric zones of striations, combined with less conspicuous figures of horses and cervids.

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107 Two twinned signs cross the flank of the Horse with Claviform Signs. Claviform signs are interpreted as chronological markers.

Two superimposed panels signal the proximity of the Apsidiole: that of the Upward-turned Horse and the Musk Ox. Immediately to the right of the two engraved ibex heads, it is possible to make our the two hindlimbs. the croup and the belly of a very large equid. An abnormally broad line has been used fat the outline. It differs from the other representations of horses, not only in terms of the anatomical parts depicted, bur also in the orientation of the body, which is turned upwards. A band engraved with a double row of short parallel incisions crosses the central part of the panel over a length of 1.2 metres, attaching the hindlimbs of the Upward-turned Horse to a cervid head with very developed antlers and a deeply incised outline.

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108 Difficulties in the identification of this cervid, as reindeer or red deer, are related to the clumsy execution of its general form and certain anatomical details relative to the other, more detailed figures of the sanctuary.

The panel of the Musk Ox is over 2 metres below the level of the previous body of figures. The figure from which this composition takes its name stands at the centre of the piece and is thought to be a musk ox, even though its horns appear to be the only feature relating to this animal, marked by the coiling so characteristic of the species. The other figure has the features of an equid. The outline of its poorly formed head merges with the horns of the Musk Ox, but there are no points of contact to suggest that the artist used the graphic elements of the one to complete the outlines of the other. The incisions are much more distinct on the Musk Ox than on the horse.

Another remarkable figure, the Horse with Claviform Signs (ill. 107), is located 20 centimetres above. A quadrangular sign of 'blazon' type muddies the interpretation of the figure. On its own, this animal is no different from the other horses, but two club-like figures nearby have made it stand out somewhat. Even if this pattern is similar to a true claviform, this pair of signs (which are strongly associated with the three signs above the small frieze of stags) ate, alone, not enough to prove the presence of man at the site during the middle Magdalenian. It would appear that the real claviform was 'invented' much later.

These last two panels, which abut the entrance to the Apsidiole, mark the end of the long decorated band of the central level on the left wall. An equally dense composition of animal and geometric figures extends at the same height along the tight wall, tight up to the Passageway. On the sloping surface of the tight wall, three small cervids surround converging bands of striations - otherwise known as the Small Sorcerer, although this interpretation, assigning a human outline to the figure, seems implausible.

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109 The outlines of the 'fend-la-bise' Stag merge into an inextricable body of lines in which geometric and animal images collide. This reproduction shows the difficulties encountered during the identification of themes and their interpretation.

Divided into three panels for the purpose of this descriptive analysis, the bestiary projected on to this wall remains dominated by stags, which ate both large and numerous. One of them, called the Great Reindeer (ill. 108), engraved next to the ridge marking the base of the dome, raises some questions about the correct classification of the species as red deer or reindeer. These difficulties of identification have arisen through the clumsy execution of the general shape and certain anatomical details. This is in stark contrast to the more detailed figures of the Apse. Two bison at the bottom of the panel are the main protagonists of this first section. Their sex obvious, and moving apart, they are reminiscent of the diptych of the Crossed Bison of the Nave. Very large bands of vertical and diagonal striations cross the entire field, adding to the confusion generated by the multiple superimpositions of horses, stags and other bovines.

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110 The single, massive antler of the Major Stag follows the stony ridge of the wall. Its bearing is one of the most unusual, with a body incline 45º to the front, the neck extended and the limbs flexed

The second section of the panel is merely a continuation of the first. The evident chaos of the images persists, but two large cervids can be distinguished at the centre, the one following the other. The head and the neck of the 'fend- la-bise' Stag (ill. 109), stretched out towards the ceiling, and its thrown-back antlers accentuate the animation of the body, below which the hindlimbs ate extended and the forelimbs bent. Caught between a leap and flight, this figure exudes a sense of exhilaration. It appears to participate in the same composition as the Major Stag (ill. 110) engraved directly in front of it. The hindlimbs folded below the belly, the body thrust towards the floor, the head, neck and line of the back engraved on the same alignment and strongly inclined towards the front are some of the features that contribute to the unique vigour of the Major Stag. Its antlers are characterized by a single beam rising vertically. They are unusually thick, which no doubt contributed to its interpretation as a fallow deer in the past. Deep engraving and painting accentuate this feature further.

Two figures show the originality of the signs here: one located above the croup of the 'fend-la-bise' Stag, the other in front of the Major Stag. The former is a new structure 1.4 metres high, consisting of a series of long bands of striations joined at their top and spread in the form of a mitre at their base. This type of structure is found again on this same wall in the shape of the Small Sorcerer, as well as on the facing wall (with the Hut and the Great Sorcerer, which will be described in detail later). The second schematic representation is unique, both in terms of its size (almost 1.5 metres in length) and its form. It is a long, sinuous line with many bilateral barbs, forming a feather-like structure.

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111 Horse engraved on the entablature commanding the entrance to the Passageway. On its chest there is a sign that is unique in its composition of arched and symmetrical elements.

A less conspicuous but similarly decorated frieze underlies these two panels. Less than 50 centimetres wide, it features numerous depictions of appropriate proportions along its elongated surface, a composition that is joined by three small aurochs.

The parietal art of the third and last section of this panel (ill. 111) is partly found above the opening overlooking the Passageway, which would have presented problems of accessibility. As a consequence, there is a smaller number of figures. A very large stag, facing towards the left this time, merges with the image of a horse of identical size. These two figures are located at the edge of the engraved area. The quadrangular signs, which accompany this imposing composition as far as the Major Stag and cover a1mosr all the walls of this hall, are joined by signs with nested elements (ill. 112), a theme reproduced twice on the flanks of these two animals.

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112 Sign with convergent nested elements

The third level, partly buried beneath the sediments of the floor, extends at the opposite edge, immediately below the long horseshoe-shaped frieze that we have just passed. Only the left edge by the entrance to the Nave is decorated. A dark brown coating covers its entire surface as a result of long exposure to dust. In the same band, the backdrop also preserves the lighter colour of the rock, where material was removed during the alterations. This chromatic difference highlights the original level of the floor. On the surviving tableau, which is very dirty, it is not easy to make out the figures at first glance. However, more careful observation reveals the outlines of a large black cow with a derailed muzzle. The edges of the limbs and the ventral line are emphasized by a series of scrapes. In front of this animal, which faces right, is one of the most remarkable figures of the Apse: the outline of a stag, reproduced in its entirety (ill. 113). It looks more like a drawing than an engraving, with light lines against a black background. There is no need for the play of light and shade here. A few animal figures are associated with this pair of drawings, including a 'carnivore', located between the cow and the stag, and a cervid head on the lower edge of the panel.

The signs are just as interesting because they diverge from the conventional forms in this cave. Above the stag, a series of quire structured, arc-shaped striations, referred to as 'Hut', raises several questions regarding interpretation. The second construction, the enigmatic Great Sorcerer, obliterates the central section of the black cow. Breuil believed it to be a sorcerer's mask of braided fibres. It represents a series of long, finely engraved bands converging at the top. This classification was made using ethno-analogy. This approach is applied more cautiously today, but it was used profitably during the first decades of research into Palaeolithic art.

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113 The appearance of this stag, with a light outline against a black background, recalls a drawing rather than an engraving.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:57 pm

The Shaft Scene

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The way to the Shaft lies at the back of the Apse. There is a fixed ladder to facilitate the 6-metre descent. At its foot and on the facing wall is one of the most remarkable compositions of prehistory: the Shaft Scene. Despite the numerous possibilities offered by the vast wall surfaces here, only a very localized fraction of the space was exploited. These drawings have provoked numerous observations in the attempt to identify the connections that may exist between the different subjects represented.

The originality of this panel resides in its narrative potential- a quality based on the distribution of the figures and their animation. It is dominated by the confrontation between the man and the bison (ill. 115). This theme is present at several other Palaeolithic sites, but here it is infinitely more dramatic and evocative. This monochrome group in black brings together four animals and one human, in an association of themes that contrasts with the other compositions at the site. While the image of the horse (ill. 114), which is set apart and isolated on the facing wall but nonetheless capable of being integrated into the Scene, is universal at Lascaux, the bison is very rarely represented (4.3 per cent of the bestiary) and the man, the bird and the rhinoceros are only found in this sector.

The unusual character of the panel rests not only in the rarity of the themes and in their animation, bur also in the partial misrepresentation of the ithyphallic man, whose bird head is absolutely identical to that of the bird below. An extended visit to the site led Jean Clottes [24] to assign to the bird the role of psychopomp, or conductor of souls, an image divided in two and transferred to the man, thereby repeating the message of the scene. The similarity is even more significant if the geometric signs are considered. The one with disconnected segments, commonly referred to as the 'spearthrower' is present in the majority of the sectors of the cave, and the double series of three dots is comparable to the sign marking the end of the Chamber of the Felines, although a different colour.

Two techniques have been used in conjunction: the bird, the signs, the upper part of the man and the fore- and hindlimbs of the bison were produced with a brush; the horse, the rhinoceros, the upper line and the belly of the bison, the pelvis and the legs of the human were sprayed.

We cannot be absolutely certain that the rhinoceros, on the one hand, and the other figures of the panel, including the horse, were executed at the same time. In fact, there is a certain difference in the graphic treatment of the figures. The outlines of the rhinoceros are less precise, and the drafted strokes along its lower line are not found on any other figure at the site. Furthermore, its presence is, in terms of climate, not very compatible with the group of themes represented, in particular the red deer and the aurochs unless it is a steppe rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus hemitoechus), although this is merely hypothetical. This is why this animal was interpreted as an unrelated element very early on.

This opinion was confirmed by a series of pigment analyses, [25] which revealed appreciable differences of composition and texture. The colouring agent is an oxide of manganese and barium without associated binding agents; its preparation simply required crushing and the addition of water. The product was applied in fine layers on all of the figures, except for the rhinoceros, on which the thickness of the material is appreciably greater. Furthermore, the analysis found evidence of important differences in the crystalline structure of the pigments. While this body of arguments contributes even more to isolating the drawing of the rhinoceros, it demonstrates the very great unity of the other protagonists of the Scene.

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114 Rarely mentioned, the horse of the Shaft confirms the ubiquitous character of this theme in the ensemble of the sanctuary.

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115 The dramatic appearance of this composition, assembling figures that - with the exception of the bison - are only found in this sector, has inspired numerous interpretations. Nevertheless, several clues show that the rhinoceros remains extraneous to the scene.

The Nave

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116 At the entrance to the Nave, on the left wall, there is an inconspicuous frieze of seven ibexes with painted and engraved horns, heads and necks.

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Beyond the intersection connecting the Passageway to the Apse is the entrance to a gallery of more imposing proportions: the Nave. The tunnel, which was originally restricted to a low corridor before the floor was lowered, becomes significantly broader here. Twelve metres long, it increases in width from 2.5 to 5.5 metres, and in height from 2.4 to 6 metres. A broad oblong dome coveting the whole of the hall gives this space its keeled form.

Of the seventy-nine recorded figures, some fifty animal figures and twenty-four signs could be identified. By looking at the morphology of the walls, the choice of themes and the organization of the motifs at the heart of each concentration, it is possible to subdivide the sector into five panels. These five pictorial groups are divided asymmetrically on both sides of the hall: four are on the left wall (the panels of the Ibexes, the Imprint, the Great Black Cow and the Crossed Bison) and there is a single one on the facing wall (the Swimming Stags).

This subdivision is accentuated by a distribution on three levels. The upper level is decorated only by the frieze of the Ibexes at the entrance of the hall. Three of the five panels extend over the central part: the Imprint, the Great Black Cow and the Swimming Stags. The Crossed Bison are on the lower level. This gives the figures maximum diffusion.

With the exception of the Crossed Bison, these compositions all have a similar construction. In each panel, there is a dominant figurative theme, made up of a large number of animals arranged in a frieze, and a second theme of single subjects, facing in the opposite direction to the group.

THE FRIEZE OF THE IBEXES

From the entrance into the Nave, the frieze of the Ibexes extends on the left over 1.2 metres. Seven males are aligned at the same horizontal level, facing towards the exit. Only their neck and head are shown, crowned by a pair of developed horns. This frieze is divided into two groups: four individuals on the left and three on the right, separated by an engraved quadrangular sign. They are far from identical. Some have a more delicate head, others a more developed neck. As with most of the figures traced on the relatively friable rock surface, the ibexes were painted and then engraved. The group on the right are red, while those on the left are brown, with a field of colour extended to the horns. The second theme represented is the hind, which is also limited to the head and the neck. Set off to the right, this hind looks towards the back of the gallery.
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