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Sunday, 14 April 2013

The reminiscence of Ice Age art in Mesopotamia and Greek civilisation

Hello everyone. Suddenly spring came to Canterbury. It was 22C. We did a bit of gardening. We both have virus infection with dull back pain. So it was the day of rest today.

Continuing yesterday's story, after lunch we walked into Mesopotamia display. We kept finding the reminiscence of Ice age art there. It backs the assumption that Ice age people share the same brain with us. We both, therefore, have similar imagination, similar aestheticism and similar thinking process. Despite of the lack of tools except for flint stones, the homo sapiens who used to live in Europe during Ice age, made such beautiful objects to look at, to wear, to use, and to protect themselves with. And after 40,000 years, we are looking at the artifacts made by their hands, made me feel to connected to them in the deepest way.

My own inspiration comes from our memory from primeval time. Everyone has it, just they don't know they have got it. I follow my intuition when I make my art. I listen to myself and to the clay. Clay is one of the oldest material known to homo sapiens (another is stone). When I touch it, it brings back the old memory to me. I shut out the outside world, which is irrelevant to me. When I communicate with spiritual being, I will start making it. My art is my soul and philosophy. At Ice Age art exhibition, I realized that same thing did happen to those ancient artists in caves. It was my Eureka moment.

Pendants, from  late Uruk about 3000BC
Those fishes are similar to the Ice age pendants. In Ice Age, pendants were hung upside down. It is thought that wearers had them that way so that they could see animals the right way up.

Eye figurines from Eye temple foundation, late Uruk, 3000-3300 BC, Syria

This relief below reminded me of the sculptures I saw at Nemurt Dagi in Eastern Turkey. It was one of the most mysterious places I have ever visited.

Goddess Kubaba, 9th century BC, Neo-Hittites, Syria

 These are also form same area, about same time. You can see they had large noses.

This is one of female figurines. Ice Age art have lots of female figurines. And yes, we still make them, too. I was again interested in their eyes.

I like these figures because they are so simply stylized, yet full of character.

Lion and antlers are motifs frequently used in both Ice Age and Mesopotamia. This lion headed eagle is the symbol of the god Ningirsu.
God Ningirsu
 Next are female figures from south-western Turkey. You can't make humans simpler than this. Late Ice Age artists made lots of stylised female figures. They were displayed along side Brassai's sculptures. They didn't have heads; they just looked like thin violins.

Female figures, Bronze Age

One of my favourite displays in the British Museum is the Assyria wall reliefs. A half of section is closed right now. Mike had never seen them. When he saw this, he pointed 'It's Lion Man!'.

Lion man from Assyria wall relief. 
Replica of Ice Age Lion man

When we finished the section, we went to see ancient Greek section. Stylised female figures kept appearing. They are famous Cycladic female figures

Different versions
 Little animals figures reminded us of Ice Age animals carve in stone as well as Japanese Netsuke.

To be continued.


  1. What an interesting show. Your photos and comments are an excellent tour. I hope you and yours are feeling better.

    It's been a very slow spring here. Enjoy the sun.........*S*

    1. Hello Smartcat. Thank you, we feel better after resting yesterday. : )

  2. I'm really enjoying your photos, as I can't make it to these exhibitions. Thank you for sharing them here. I like your philosophy of making..I do think the best work comes instinctively, without thought.

    1. Hello Mark. I'm glad that you enjoyed them. Yes, I agree. I've seen so many people think too much for nothing (and they forgot to put their soul in their works!).