07 June 2013

Bison flint sculpture

Ken Johnston find, interpretation as "Bison flint sculpture", Licking County, Ohio

This is interpreted as a polyiconic sculpture combining probable lion head and bison forms. The viewer may turn the figure stone 180 degrees to present the visage of each animal. Above is the "bison view." The bison is depicted looking backward to it's posterior.

The bison sculpture turned 180 degrees. The cartoonish animal head is depicted facing right with its exaggerated nose turned up in the air.

This animal head is quite ambiguous. My interpretation of a lion's head is based on a pattern of other probable sculpted lion heads found in the same locale and documented by others who study palaeoart. However, some aspects of this head seem to portray "bear," especially the upturned nose which is topped by a layer of quartz crystals. Also, the mouth is more bear-like than the feline-like mouths seen in the other sculptures.

Depiction of probable lion head in right profile exploits a ring-shaped crystal inclusion as the animal's eye (please click photo to expand view)
Material is Vanport chert, Flint Ridge, Glenford, Licking County, Ohio.

The arrows illustrate the depicted gaze of the flint bison toward its rear (click photos to expand)

Cave art from Lascaux, France, with Jan van Es markup of an arrow indicating the bison's rearward gaze

Side 2 of the sculpture shown with scale shows how crystal inclusions may have been important in the selection of sculpture media. The bottom edge in this photo is a heavy duty sharp edge which may have served a purpose as a tool.

Archaeologist Jan van Es of The Netherlands interprets two fish forms in the sculpture. The first is seen in the overall outline of the "lion's head" where the lion's mouth at right becomes the tail fin of the fish. A second smaller fish, a mirror image of the stone's outline, is seen highlighted in blue.


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