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Sid Tafler

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What does cave art mean to you?

Stone Age art has fascinated people around the world since some of the first discoveries of cave paintings in France and Spain in the 19th century.
The recent Werner Herzog film "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," showcasing the spectacular panels of lions and horses at Chauvet, brought new attention to Paleolithic art.
If you haven't gazed into the deep past recently, do a web search for Lascaux, Chauvet or Altamira cave.

What do these arts forms mean to you?
Do you find them beautiful, primitive, artistically inspired, or something less?
Are these drawings art for art sake, an attempt by Paleolithic people to reproduce the world they experienced?
Or do they have some deep cosmic or spiritual significance?
Why did these people of 15,000 to 30,000 years ago often create these works in places that were difficult to access?
Were they trying to communicate with each other, access worlds beyond their own, or engage in hunting magic?
Or were they just enjoying themselves scratching and drawing on cave walls?

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  • May 9 2012: I have never seen anything more beautiful...

    Here is my favourite link
    http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/#/fr/00.xml ,
    some helpful tech niceties and soundtrack doesn't hurt, it's quite good, actually.

    Thanks, Sid for this conversation !
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      May 10 2012: What I find so exciting about these works is that they allow access to the minds of people of so long ago.
      Sometimes it's hard to grasp the idea of deep past of 20,000 or 30,000 years ago.
      Even a few centuries is the distant past for many of us.
      Any assumptions about the way those people thought or why they created these works much be approached with humility.
      I agree, Lascaux is one of the finest galleries of all time.
      I have had the privilege of seeing two painted caves in France and have read many books on the subject. One I would recommend is The Nature of Paleolithic Art Dale Guthrie.
      • May 10 2012: Thank you for responding !
        I know about the book you've recommended and have found some more, currently available in the net. But I've shifted reading them for 'not now' later time, as if I am afraid to ruin the feeling...I have a very strange emotional relationship with these paintings...
        I can't yet explain.
        The words that come to mind in attempt to describe what I feel seem adequate, but sound pathetic, really. Humility is just the starting point :)
        I think, this art is an expression of a kind of not-yet-divided consciousness into 'me' and 'not me' and when you watch it you get somehow involved.
        Do you feel anything like that ?

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