21 November 2013

From Mekong Delta, Vietnam, a wedged pebble serves as an "eye" in artistically correct position and should be evaluated as an indicator of human agency

Tira Vanichtheeranont collection, Bangkok, Thailand

Tira writes: "This is a natural stone without any modification. The small pebble in the eye is also naturally stuck in and quite hard, can not be removed easily. This piece is found in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam area, end of the river before running to the sea. This piece looked like the actor in the movie "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame "

While Tira's interpretation is that this is a natural stone, it has visual and stoneworking aspects which are comparable to suspected sculptures identified by north west European archaeologists like Ursel Benekendorff (Germany) and Jan van Es (The Netherlands) and Hans Grams (Germany) in Lower Paleolithic contexts.

Evaluation for artifact status might include taking close petrological examination of the features illustrated above. They may indicate human intent to create a face icon in line with a long-lived portable rock art tradition.

Another possible south east Asian pebble-face mask from Tira's collection featured earlier on this blog. Remarkably, this pebble has a crevice on the obverse side in which there are two very tiny pebbles wedged in what may a human action rather than a natural coincidence.

One is square and one is round and they can be interpreted as serving as eyes with a round mouth below.

Winona Axsom find, Portland, Oregon, in context of other sculpted rocks, featured earlier on this blog

With examples of this motif in south east Asia and the North American west coast, and in north west Europe and the North American east coast, and from middle-America, this is an art tradition which may have spread or existed around the world.

Mekong delta, Vietnam, Tira Vanichtheeranont collection

Dennis Boggs collection, Irrigon, Oregon. Because this stone has been worked and is an artifact I think a very good chance a tiny foreign pebble has been inserted in the mouth crevice to serve as a "tooth." This is much like the tiny pebble serving as the left eye of the Vietnam object.

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