10 May 2012

Hoard #1 and #2 of 7: presented as components of a compound sculpture action scene depicting the feline head taking a bite out of the human head

The Buckeye Lake, Ohio, flint sculpture hoard #1 and #2 as they may have been associated in the Stone Age, where the lion is depicted as taking a bite from the human's head. (click photo to expand)

Coincidentally, sculptures #1 (human head in the round) and #2 (lion head panel) were standing rather close together on their bases on my deck railing when I noticed a concavity on the head was at the right height and size to accept a convex aspect of the lion, its chin. I moved the two sculptures right up against each other and a tight fitting of the two sculptures was made in an apparently designed "ball-in-socket" type relationship. Both sculptures weigh 12lbs. 12lbs. is an anatomically correct weight for a 150lbs. human head. The sculptures are also the same height withing a couple of millimeters.

It is not a coincidence the two sculptures have such a true and tight fit when standing next to each other on their designed bases on a level platform. They create a coherent, dramatic, picture.

It appears the two pieces, found together, were components of a compound sculpture action scene which depicts the lion taking a bite out of the human head. The human head was noted to have what appeared to be the left eye out of its socket and on the cheek of the human face. A line of vertical visual distortion made by grinding down the stone runs along the left side of the human face down to where the chin of the lion nests into it. Therefore, the sculpture may also be an expression of the known "one eye open, one eye closed/missing" motif in world palaeoart.

(click photos to expand)

Later, I learned of the work of early religion and art scholar James B. Harrod, Ph.D. who has described the "predator bite out of the head" as one of the primary memes of early human art. These memes could have persisted for very long periods of time, as is evidenced by the Acheulean handaxe's continued use for one million years. Harrod has aggregated tool and art (and proto-art) data from over 500 old world sites. The large felines have a prominent role in early human ideologies, it seems driven by the paradox of them being both life-givers and life-takers. Lions kill prey and leave carcasses with substantial amounts of nutrition still available to humans and other scavengers. Based on worldwide archaeological data from skeletal remains, 8% or so of early humans were also victims of predation. So, the big cats were big components of the world view of humans who had to contend with them. The movie "The Ghost and The Darkness" is an excellent way to acquaint oneself with the power of lions as it may have been experienced for most of human time. It is based on a true story and is set in British Colonial Africa. The Ghost and The Darkness are now stuffed specimens on display at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.

A protrusion, like an eyeball out of its place, underneath the left eye socket is circled above. The face is frowning or grimacing with a vertical line of visual distortion on the left side with a white arrow pointing to the place where the lion's chin nests into the human head.




Photo is Copyright (c) Ursel Benekendorff, All Rights Reserved. Do not copy or distribute in any way. Used with permission. This German example of a human head sculpture from the Gross Pampau site also has a vertical line of visual distortion along the left side of the face. A sea urchin fossil serves as the closed or missing left eye. Ursel Benekendorff is a pioneer in the field of Pleistocene rock art and has the largest collection in the world with 2000 photos available for study at her website, Schafftwisen. Benekendorff noted her sculpture has strong inclusion of calcite as I noted with the Ohio, U.S.A. sculpture.

As the subject of an earlier posting, this possible sculpture depicting a lion head with a human head inside it (another example of lion eating human head theme) is from Flint Ridge, about 10 miles from the find location of the Buckeye Lake, Ohio, hoard of seven sculptures.

-kbj

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