27 July 2016

Solitary Thailand pebble has human modifications and is a feline and human combination figure-stone

 
Thath Chanuhacha collection, Bangkok, Thailand

Thath is a rock and mineral collector and I have featured a couple of his iconic finds on this blog. This stone was collected by his father and recently found in a box of his affects. It has no specific find location or archaeological context. However, I think a careful scientific examination of this pebble figure would confirm it has been humanly modified in the past.

In the above photo there are three incised lines across the 'left forehead,' two lines radiating from the outside corner of the 'right eye,' and another line serving as a 'mouth.' 

This is a view of the stone turned a bit to the left. The left 'eye' area may have excavated and shows evidence of being ground to relative smoothness compared to the natural rind of the stone. The nose area may have been expanded and the mouth appears to have been made by exacting a chip from the stone.

When the stone is rotated again a very plausible feline head may be seen. What was the human's nose in the photo above this one becomes the feline's nose in this perspective. This sharing of body elements like this is seen many, many times in portable rock art featured on this blog. The feline's 'mouth' may have been created by removal a wedge-shaped piece from the lower left of the stone.

Here, faint traces of a human 'skull-mask' may be seen incorporated into the 'muzzle' area of the feline head. Two eyes and a nose may be seen and they have been worked in a similar technical fashion. The human skull shares its 'mouth' with the 'mouth' of the feline. The cat's 'nose' is like a hole on the top of the skull-head. This may be symbolic of a feline bite to the head.

When the feline head view is rotated 180 degrees a simple human face likeness is found. The area around the 'eyes' appears to have been ground down to expand them or better define them. A natural crack in the stone has been exploited as a 'mouth' by removal of a chip under the eyes. Please note the figure stands on a flat base with this orientation.

Even though there no meaningful known context for this find, the presence of apparent workmanship to finalize several iconic images on one stone supports a hypothesis that this is a figure-stone. Further, it may exhibit a known motif of a 'human face with left eye missing associated with a feline' and I think implying a feline bite to the head in what is likely an expression of a deeply rooted-in-time folk tale or the like. This piece could be an important find as it would show this motif in south east Asia like a few other examples.

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