30 January 2016

Mammoth body and feline head combination standing sculpture from Flint Ridge, Ohio

Mammoth body and feline head profile combination standing sculpture from Flint Ridge, Ohio (11cm)
The mammoth is facing left and the feline head is facing right. This mammoth and feline head combination motif is seen in other examples documented here, most recently including this Tennessee find by Jason Lamont and a Virginia mega sculpture made on a landscape rock formation.

Ken Johnston find in the context of many other flint figures seen on this blog. Found in the immediate context of this bird figure recently published.

When assessing a piece like this for artificiality and intent to create an iconic piece rather than some random natural or human action, very strong weight is given to the fact that the interpreted figure stands upright on a base and is presented in correct viewing orientation with respect to the visual horizon. Like in many other sculpture examples, this one stands upright on a designed base. The base has been worked to level out the surfaces the sculpture stands upright on.

This base is what allows a piece of flint 11cm tall and 3cm thick, with a 'lean,' to stand upright.

Photo favoring a more frontal view of the mammoth's trunk curvature.

Photo favoring a more frontal view of the feline head. The 'bump' of the mammoth head is also the ear of the cat. Importantly, this is also the case with the Tennessee example seen in the link above.

The cat's 'nose' is a translucent crystal formation. Other feline heads have been described on this blog from Flint Ridge and this one follows the general scheme or template I have identified.

The hardness and fracture qualities of the flint and the artistic combination of two animals in one view leads to rather abstract visages of the creatures. Accurate representation was not the goal of this art. The final art product may not have been too important either. Perhaps the process of being able to work a stone and realize a motif such as this, in a practical 'optical illusion,' was what was valued by the cultures who made these iconic materials.

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