The oldest Love Statuette in the World

The statuette of the Ain Sakhri lovers is 11,000 years old.

The statuette of the Ain Sakhri lovers is 11,000 years old.

The age of the statuette is estimated at 11,000 years. It is exhibited at the British Museum.

It shows two lovers, maybe making love, in an intense embrace. Marc Quinn, an artist, remarked that the statue , depending on the angle it is looked at, can be interpreted as a couple or a love making couple, two breasts, a vagina or a penis. I read once that homo’s claim it to represent two male lovers. Not impossible and that way everybody is satisfied.

Marc.I.Vermeersch@gmail.com

if you would like to see more of this statuette:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/vNEwNR8rSzGPSwSn3yeJwA

If you are interested in art you might like these blogs:
Art in Olduvai 1,74 Million Years BP, Baboonhead 
Rather unknown, undeserved, the oldest known art in the world
 The Origin of Aesthetic Feeling and Art Fundamental: How our aesthetic feeling originated in reproduction of man, a darwinian explanation.

The oldest Cartoons in the World? 14,000 BP Two extraordinary statuettes from Romania.
7000 BP: The Thinker and the Sitting Woman Two statuettes, one amazinly modern though it maybe 7000 years ol
The oldest statuettes adapted by man are between 233,000 and 800,000 years old
“Lion Man”, the oldest statuette with a combination man-animal ‘Der Löwenmensch” was found in Germany.
The oldest Love Statuette in the World They keep on loving for ever in the British Luseeum.
A virtual visit to the Lascaux Cave is mind blowing!

Read more?

Marc Vermeersch, De geschiedenis van de mens. Deel I, Jagers en verzamelaars.
Over kunst:Boek 1, Van pan tot Homo sapiens, p. 80-81(definitie) , 198-199, 208, 221, 253, 316-317, 330.
Boek 2, de maatschappij van jagers en verzamelaars, p.119-123, 134-135,185-200, 212, 244, 279, 289.
Minnaars
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Chauvet Cave, the 2nd oldest known cave art in Europe

Chauvet Cave, rhinoceroses

Chauvet Cave, rhinoceroses

The oldest known cave art in Europe is the Chauvet Cave in France. It is a rather recent discovery (1994) in comparison with the well known Lascaux Cave (1940). The rock art of both caves is comparable for their style but also because they are an expression of the same genius.

The oldest paintings from the Chauvet Cave were made by hunters and gatherers around 32,400 years ago. Man had probably long traditions in making art on skins, wood and tattooing his own body. The makers of this rock art may have discussed what they would paint and how to do it. They had to make strenuous efforts to make these paintings. They had to crawl  in the dark through long and narrow corridors with their material. Paint had to be taken in their mouth and sprawled on the rock, often from a very uncomfortable position.

Lascaux is, with paintings up to 17,000 years old, much younger than Chauvet. Time between today and Lascaux is about as much as between Lascaux and Chauvet. The paintings of another cave famous for its paintings, Altamira  (Cantabria, Spain), is estimated to be 15,000 years old.

On the follwing link you will find a trailer of a coming documentary made by Werner Herzog on the Chauvet Cave, the ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ . http://vimeo.com/18964665

Dr. Marc Vermeersch. The oldest known cave art in Europe:
Nerja Caves: the oldest Cave Art in Europe, 42,000 years old Rock paintings , probably made by neanderthals.
The oldest known art in the world: Art in Olduvai 1,74 Million Years BP, Baboonhead Rather unknown, but undeserved,

If you are interested in art you might also like these blogs:
The Origin of Aesthetic Feeling and Art Fundamental: How our aesthetic feeling originated in reproduction of man, a darwinian explanation.
The oldest statuettes adapted by man are between 233,000 and 800,000 years old
“Lion Man”, the oldest statuette with a combination man-animal ‘Der Löwenmensch” was found in Germany.
The oldest Love Statuette in the World They keep on loving for ever in the British Luseeum.
A virtual visit to the Lascaux Cave is mind blowing!

Parts of this blog were taken from ‘Marc Vermeersch. De geschiedenis van de mens. Deel I. Jagers en verzamelaars. Boek 2, de maatschappij van jagers en verzamelaars. p.185.

Chauvet Cave Art (France) Horses bisons rihoncerosses 31,000 BP

Chauvet Cave Art (France) Horses bisons rihnoceros 31,000 BP

Chauvet Cave Art (France) Horses, bisons rihnoceros 31,000 BP

Chauvet (France) Cave Art. Lion/lionesses heads.

Chauvet (France) Cave Art. Engraving of an owl.

Chauvet (France) Cave Art. Engraving of an owl.

The Chauvet has not only paintings but also engravings such as this beautiful owl.

Chauvet (France) Cave Art painting of hyena's. 20,000 BP.

Chauvet (France) Cave Art painting of hyena’s. 20,000 BP.

Chauvet (France) Cave Art painting of hyena’s. 20,000 BP. At that time hyena’s were living since a long time in Europe.

If you are interested in art you might like these blogs:
Art in Olduvai 1,74 Million Years BP, Baboonhead
7000 BP: The Thinker an the Sitting Woman
The oldest statuettes adapted by man
“Lion Man”, the oldest statuette with a combination man-animal
The oldest Love Statuette in the World
Chauvet Cave, the oldest known cave art in Europe
A virtual visit to the Lascaux Cave
Nerja Caves: the oldest Cave Art in Europe, 42,000 years old Rock paintings , probably made by neanderthals
general:
The origin of aesthetic Feeling and Art Basic text about the significance of art in a darwinian point of view.

7000 BP. The Thinker and the Sitting Woman. Two extraordinary statuettes from Romania.

The oldest Cartoons in the World? 14,000 BP They were engraved in the La Marche Cave in France. They are as fresh as they were 14,000 years ago.

An Observation and some Hypotheses on the History of Man

Cover of the 1st book on Hunters and Gatherers
Cover of the 1st book on Hunters and Gatherers
Cover of the 2nd Book on teh Society of Hunters and Gatherers
Cover of the 2nd Book on teh Society of Hunters and Gatherers

Marc Vermeersch is the author of two Dutch books on hunters and gatherers.In both books a number of observations are made and hypotheses are formulated.

Observation. Violence has been always inherent to human society.

Hypothesis. Man must – to reproduce himself  – also reproduce himself ideologically (ideology defined as the whole of his ideas).

Hypothesis. Religion is a component of human ideology and in origin also a component of the (re)production of human society. The ancestor cult was the oldest of all religions. It gave birth to the first supernatural concept: the soul. The soul was probably in its origin a term that can be understood as `life’. From the soul concepts as ghosts and gods were developed.  The situation that human groups lived in enmity with some clans was also reflected in supernatural concepts: angry souls, angry spirits, angry god (the devil).  Souls, ghosts or gods, positive or negative, can all be reduced to  one basic one supernatural concept. Hypothesis.   Dominance  of males was  in the first place based on male alliances, in the second place on violence.

Hypothesis. The origin of art is a byproduct of the properties which humanity had developed to reproduce itself. As a consequence man has three large interest points  that  have always occurred in art: people (biological  reproduction but also  more widely), animals (food) and a great ability to recognize forms, colours,  light, patterns etc. the base of which is to be found in the capacity of hunters and gatherers to find and recognize edible plants and fruit.

If you would like to contact the author, you van mail him: Marc.Vermeersch@gmail.com

A virtual visit to the Lascaux Cave

If you are interested in the art of hunters and gatherers, one of the most beautiful sites in the world is in Lascaux, France. From now on you can pay it a virtual visit. Just click:
http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/#/en/02_00.xml
It will be a short but a fantastic trip.

Horse Lascaux

Horse Lascaux

Today  the original cave cannot be visited any more because the paintings are affected by funghi. In the surrounding area a replica of the original cave was constructed, Lascaux II.  I visited it a few years ago. A virtual visit of Lascaux is ‘the next best thing’. Hunters and gatherers painted in Lascaux about 17,000 years ago.
When Pablo Picasso visited the cave in 1940, he was one of the first, he said “Nous n’avons rien inventé”, ‘We invented nothing’.

I have written about European art in the aurignacian in: Marc Vermeersch, De geschiedenis van de mens. Deel I, Jagers en verzamelaars. Boek 2, de maatschappij van jagers en verzamelaars, 472 pagina’s.  ISBN 978 908 134 7716.  p.185 – 197.

If you are interested in art you might like these blogs:

The Origin of Aesthetic Feeling and Art Fundamental: How our aesthetic feeling originated in reproduction of man, a darwinian explanation.

7000 BP: The Thinker and the Sitting Woman Two statuettes, one amazinly modern though it maybe 7000 years old

Chauvet Cave, the oldest known cave art in Europe The recently discovered cave shows that the European late palaeolithic culture lasted at least 20,000 years.

The oldest statuettes adapted by man are between 233,000 and 800,000 years old.

The oldest European Venus figurine was found in the Hohle Fels cave (Germany) It is between 35,000 and 40,000 years old.

“Lion Man”, the oldest statuette with a combination man-animal ‘Der Löwenmensch” was found in Germany.

The oldest Love Statuette in the World They keep on loving for ever in the British Museum.

A virtual visit to the Lascaux Cave is mind blowing!

7000 BP. The Thinker and the Sitting Woman. Two extraordinary statuettes from Romania.

The oldest Cartoons in the World? 14,000 BP Two extraordinary statuettes from Romania.

Other paintings from Lascaux.

Lascaux painting of a bison, a man on the ground and a bird

Lascaux painting of a bison, a man on the ground and a bird

Lascaux painting of horses running

Lascaux painting of horses running

Lascaux lamp burning on grease

Lascaux lamp burning on grease

The painters that visited the caves needed light. On the photo you can see a lamp that burned with grease.

Lascaux painting of reindeer

Lascaux painting of reindeer

The Origin of Religion

The origin of ideology and religion (of hunters and gatherers) 
 To reproduce a human community must reproduce physically. This is done through sex and food production, heating, clothing, tools, education, medical care and so on. In humans there is – in contrast to other species – a new essential category that was added: ideology. We define ideology as the whole of human ideas. To reproduce himself man must also reproduce ideologically.

Girl of the Andaman Islands. Photo taken around 1890. Girl of the Andaman Islands, with her sister’s skull on her back, an aspect of the ancestor cult

Ideas are generated by the brain. They also exist in animals. Man has a special feature, unlike other animals, his ideas can be expressed by spoken language. When that occurred, is not certain. It was probably a long process, that may have taken a few million years. One of the conditions was that the man or his predecessors were walking upright so that their larynx came down, a necessary condition to produce spoken language. Footprints of australopithecines of 3.7 million years old from Laetoli, Kenya, indicate that the ancestors of humans already walked upright.

A second condition was the growth of the brain. The brains of human ancestors grew significantly from about 3 million years ago. This growth lasted until about 30,000 years ago. From then on there is even a small decrease in the average brain volumes.

Where does ideology fit in human biology and human society?

Ideology should also be (re)produced

Man is an animal, but an evolved animal. Mammals reproduce themselves by reproduction through sex and food. For mankind this is not enough. It should also reproduce its ideology. This is necessary because since man has spoken language he cannot realise his high level of productivity without his consciously reproducing ideas (technology, society, education, morality, etc.) After a long development, human communities, clans, could not acquire food any more without the knowledge they had acquired. This is well explained in an article by Kaplan, Hill, Lancaster, and Hurtado. [1] It are human communities that reproduce. The reproduction of ideology is part of that reproduction.

Ideology

Ideology consisted of various ideas: clanic, totemic, exogamous, moral, educational, philosophical, aesthetic, legal, technical, religious and so on. A human community (re)produces by material production (hunting, gathering, making equipment and other goods), biological production of humans and ideological production.

Religious ideas are social ideas, they are part of human ideology. The ideology of a clan of hunters and gatherers was an essential part of the reproduction of that community. Man was no ordinary animal. In order to reproduce his life he had to pass on much knowledge in a long learning process. The collective wisdom of a community was given further through ideas. Ideology was and is a productive force, but it was and is not without contradictions. Some aspects of ideology (human sacrifice) are counterproductive just as are some tools (nuclear bombs, torture instruments, drugs, etc.) or may be counterproductive.

Religion as a social phenomenon is part of the ideology of human communities.

The main objective of human communities to (re)produce. An important aspect of ideology is that it provides significantly to the cohesion of the clan.

The extensive knowledge of hunters and gatherers

Hunters and gatherers built over more than 2 million years an extensive knowledge in various fields, from surgery over astronomy to mathematics, zoology, botany, engineering and so on. The overview on the following alineas only a lights a tip of the veil.
The place of religion in the (re)production of man

Once man could speak a process was put in motion in which hunters and gatherers became- very slowly – aware of their situation. A process that would involve all aspects of human life. Children, grandchildren resembled their parents and grandparents. Man became conscious of the fact that his clan was reproduced through the clan members. He believed that the soul, the life of an ancestor was reborn in a new born child of the clan. The concept of the soul/life was developed to give this continuity a name. A soul of man was reborn again and again.[1] It would be wrong to see in this concept just the supernatural aspect. For hunters and gatherers this was reality.

These ideas of the early man reflected reality: the human clan, human communities reproduce themselves. Not bad, tens or hundreds of thousands of years before the laws of heredity s and genetics scientifically substantiated this.
These religious concepts were in their entirety a partially adequate and partially inaccurate reflection of the life of hunters and gatherers. They are still believed by a majority of people today.

Man was also aware that he was dependent for his food of the reproduction of animals, plants and nature in general. Totemism was in its origin a hunting ritual that was meant to insure the multiplication of totems (mainly animals and plants). Man probably projected his concept of the human soul on animals and plants. His totems had a soul and reproduced, just like human communities did.

Part of the cost of religion was that people were regularly uselessly killed by each other because they believed in the imaginary influence of evil spirits or souls. Religion was, also in this respect, a reflection of society. Clans had friendly relations with some clans but hostile relations with other clans. Murder and war between clans was endemic in some areas. Chimpanzees, especially male chimps have basically hostile relations with all neighboring clans. Man had gone a long way since the split with chimps. Members of the same clan had to assist each other in good and bad times. Totemism gave man another axis along which people had to help each other in difficult times. This extended form of cooperation was an important change in human evolution and a step in the process of becoming conscious for the species.

 Marc Vermeersch@gmail.com

[1] Hillard Kaplan, Kim Hill, Jane Lancaster, A. Magdalena Hurtado, A Theory of Human Life History Evolution: Diet, Intelligence, and Longevity, Evolutionary Anthropology, 9, 2000.
[2] Bethel or betelpeper is an herb with medicinal properties.
Sir Edward Burnett Tylor, Religion in Primitive Culture, Second Volume of Primitive Culture, John Murray, London, 1871 (1873, 1899), p.43.
[3] Marc Vermeersch, The history of man. Part I, Hunters and gatherers. Book 2, the society of hunters and gatherers, p.380-382.
Summary. Richard Dawkins asked the right question on the origin of religion: what is the biological benefit of religion? Marc Vermeersch thinks that religion cannot be understood in itself but only as a part of human ideology. The development of human ideology was an evolutionary advantage. It was useful for the reproduction of man. At a point in man’s history human ideology had to be (re)produced. The oldest religion of man, ancestor cult, had many aspects, one of the most important was that it gave the reproductio of human knowledge, the knowledge of the elders, a place. The origin of religion cannot be understood in itself. Relgion is part of human ideology en human ideology is an essential part of human reproduction.