Monday, January 28, 2013

World Oldest "Portrait" Depicts a Woman -- ??


World's oldest portrait reveals the ice-age mind


The question foremost in my mind after I read this article and examined the carving was "how do they know this is a woman?"  And, guess I'm not alone.  So, I typed my comment/question and submitted it, before reading what anyone else said about this carving.  Lo and behold, most of the other commenters were wondering the same thing.  Five of the six comments at the time asked the same question I did - how do you know it's a woman?

Is it because many of the earliest ivory carvings that archaeologists have discovered are of well endowed, rotund faceless females?  Is it because of the sort of female feline look to the face?  It almost looks like a blend between a female feline and a human woman -- like a creature caught between two worlds.  And just when did felines and females become identified, so much so that even today there are slang/gross sexual terms for females and certain parts of the female anatomy that allude to the feline?  But in many cultures in later times men were often identified with lions and tigers, so -- who knows?  Is it because of the "hairdo," that looks like a woman with her hair pinned up with a "bun" on top?  But it could just as easily be a depiction of a hat, cap or headdress and how would we know? 

I was thinking it's someone who lost an eye!  Perhaps a "hunter?"  After looking and looking, I don't see any indication that the eye on the right side (looking at the image) was damaged somehow over the years.  It looks like it was deliberately placed lower than the eye on the left, the eyebrow -- if that is an eyebrow -- is shaped a lot differently than the one on the left of the image, and it appears there is no iris, unlike the eye that is shaped on the left.

The thing is, we have no fricking idea what the culture/life of people who lived 26,000 years ago was like in the land we today call the Czech Republic.  We should not be projecting our gender and cultural biases on this carving.

As for what this carving reveals about the mind of the person who carved it - that's just a joke.  I've no idea, and anyone who says otherwise is just guessing.  I mean, really!  Why can we not appreciate these artifacts for their beauty and amazing stories of actually having survived all this time, against all odds, instead of trying to inject more into and upon them?  Geez! 

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