'Christianity was a death cult,' a friend said after she had seen the catacombs in Rome. I thought of her words as J. and I left the theater after seeing The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a film about the prehistoric drawings on the walls of the Cave Chauvet. 'It's not about death,' I said. 'All about life.'
'Energy,' J. said.
While I'm cautious about idealizing the life and work of Aurignacian and earlier people, and most attempts to re-enact and revive the past--remember Leni Riefenstahl--the work of our ancestors fascinates and awes. There were so few of us then.
At Chauvet. The legs of the bison are also the legs of the woman. We see her from the vulva down. (Thanks to S.L. for posting this photo.)
The tiny figurine, carved from wooly mammoth tusk, found in a cave in southwestern Germany, is 35-40 thousand years old. There's a small loop at the very top through which a string could be threaded. The figurine may have been worn as an amulet. (A flute carved from a vulture's bone was found near this figurine. I couldn't find a photo of the flute.)
Figurines from the Grimaldi Caves, often called Venuses.