TED Conversations

Sid Tafler

This conversation is closed.

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?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • May 13 2012: Cave art (and rock art, hill art, etc) to me is the legacy our fore bearers left to point the way back to our dreaming power. That Stonehenge, Tadrart Acacus, Nyero, Cerne Abbas, the Marree Man, and the Nazca Lines have survived thus long is a testament to our ingenuity and our appreciation for the natural systems observable.

    Above whatever immediate function they served, I imagine these proto-Michelangelos thought "Wouldn't it be great if this lasted ten thousand years? I bet our decedents will be so confused!"

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.