15 November 2013

Dutch pebble sculpture features head with one reflective eye on a deformed face

Jan van Es 40 year collection, Netherlands and Holland finds

Quartz pebble sculpture of human head with reflective mineral inclusion as eye and other eye deformed or missing as an example of common motif of "one eye open, one eye closed or missing or deformed." This motif originated in the Lower Paleeolithic at least 500,000 years ago. The van Es collection is from archaeology sites at Roermond and Boukoul worked for over 40 years.

Early sculptors worked in micro detail and must have had a quite intimate scale of relating to these objects. They are the kind of thing one might ponder while holding the stone close in the hand, maybe while stuck inside in a cold winter.

Mark Jones find, Piney Point, Maryland, identified as a worked pebble by this fossil and artifact hunter

Featured in an earlier post is a water worn example of the one reflective eye pebble mask motif. Faint remnants of  added nostrils as engraved divots remain visible. Found near the confluence of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay at Piney Point.

Ancient genetic data from Siberia places human lineages from north west Europe there and then into the Americas via the Beringia land bridge. The art of north west Europe could have arrived in Maryland from Asia or via a shorter Atlantic-based population movement. Now some genetic data supports the possibility of a western European component to the peopling of the Americas and offers a possible explanation for some of the similarities shared by the portable rock art objects from the two continents.


I ran in to this multimedia sculpture at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art with the left eye depicted as missing as is seen in some of the Stone Age art.

This may speak to the universal nature of facial recognition and how distorting just one element can significantly open the possibilities of meaning for the presentation. Maybe the distorted face is a primal image with meaning in the deep brain which is quick to evoke with the just the right visual cues.

This art piece includes a "found object" according to the placard, much like the iconography of the Stone Age often found its inspiration in found rocks that look like other things, known as "mimetoliths."

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