Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cats in Art: Panther Panel (Unknown Prehistoric Artist)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. Currently I'm using some prehistoric art, triggered by finally seeing "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" which depicts 30,000 year old art in Chauvet Cave, France.

Image credit The Bradshaw Foundation, here

Medium: red pigment on rock, 5 m x 1.5 m, approximately 30,000 years ago, unknown artist

Ten drawings are arranged over the area. The animal figures include 3 bears, 2 felines - including a panther - 2 ibex, 3 unidentifiable animals and 1 red dot, made with the palm of the hand. The central piece of the panel is dominated by the panther and the 2 superimposed bears. Whilst the outlines are precise and 'essential', the figures are incomplete. The spots on the panther represent a feline coat, where as the spots on the cave bear probably suggested a thicker fur. The figures are all drawn in red. Other visible marks on the panel are attributable to bears - paw-rubs and claw marks.

The cats in the image probably are Owen's Panther (Puma pardoides), a poorly known Old World fossil representative of a large cougar-like cat of Eurasia's Pleistocene (reference here).

As in last week's post of the lions in Chauvet Cave, I marvel at the artist who actually saw these panthers and had the artistic skills to draw them.  One can't help but ponder the timeless qualities of art and beauty intertwined...that's some enduring art, right there.


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