Stone Age art or
stone age art - The first
known period of prehistoric
human culture, during which work
was done with stone tools.
The period began with the earliest human development, about 2
million years ago. It is divided into three periods:
Making generalizations about the visual culture of any group of people is a crude endeavor, especially with a culture as diverse as that of the Stone Age. With this thought in mind, know that this survey, as any must be, is tremendously limited in its breadth and depth.
Examples of Stone Age art:
Among the earliest pieces of prehistoric sculpture that has been found is the Venus of Willendorf , c. 30,0000 - 25,000 BCE, limestone, height 11 cm, found in lower Austria, now in Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna. Clearly the female reproductive anatomy has been exagerrated, and therefore experts think it likely that it represented a fertility symbol, perhaps carried by a male hunter/gatherer as a reminder of his mate back home. [Short videos of this sculpture.]
Russia, Kostenky settlement, Female Figurine, 23,000-21,000 BCE, limestone, height 10.2 cm, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Siberia, Malta settlement, Bird Figurine, 22nd-21st millennium BCE, mammoth ivory, height 10.3 cm, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Cro-Magnon peoples, Cave at Lascaux, France, "Hall of Bulls", 15,000-13,000 BCE, "fresco" and "found relief" includes paintings of bulls, horses, deer, bison, etc.
Here is one of the horses, and a wall painted with several animals. See found material and relief.
Spain, Caves of Altamira, 15,000-12,000 BCE, paintings on the cave's wall.
China, Painted twin-jar, Yangshao culture (c.5000 - 2000 BCE), pottery, height 20 cm, Henan Museum, China. Unearthed at Zhengzhou, Henan. This jar was used for drinking wine. Two people, each holding a side of the jar, would drink simultaneously. This custom is still practiced in various cultures today — symbolizing love and friendship.
Russia, Lake Onega, Carved Petroglyph (fragment), 4th-3rd millennium BCE, granite, 240 x 308 cm, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. See petroglyph.
Also see cromlech, dolmen, megalith, and monolith.