Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cats in Art: Panther (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 National Park Service, here
From the Amistad National Recreation Area in Texas, a well preserved panther (mountain lion) image, in a rock shelter.  From the NPS web site:
Nestled along the United States-Mexico border in southwestern Texas and northwestern Coahuila, the Lower Pecos River Archeological region encompasses an area of about fifty square miles. Though this cultural region is fairly small, more than 2,000 archeological sites have been recorded. These sites cover a time span from the 19th century to over 10,000 years ago. Over 325 pictograph sites have been documented containing some of North America’s oldest and largest pictographs. These pictographs range in size from isolated motifs just a few inches tall to huge panels stretching more than 100 feet along the back of rock shelter walls.
Panther Cave is the region’s most famous pictograph site. The rear wall of the shelter is covered, floor-to-ceiling, with hundreds of motifs which collectively form an uninterrupted panel more than eighty feet in length. The namesake of the site, a giant red-painted mountain lion or panther, is over ten feet long from nose to the tip of the tail.

It's tough to make out in this ancient pictograph since the cat's legs are not very clear, but to me the overall impression is one of fluidity, of a lithe, agile cat leaping effortlessly, tail erect for balance.

One senses power, speed, and quick danger.  The unknown ancient artist was truly able to convey a lot of information in this beautiful image.


No comments:

Post a Comment