Friday, 3 May 2013

Ice Age Art

After an early morning attempt at being a domestic goddess I took myself off to the British Museum for an afternoon of thoughtful contemplation. It's one of my favourite places, there are so many ideas contained within the artefacts, so much food for thought - absolute bliss.

I went to see Ice Age art, (extended until 2 June) an exhibition of pieces made sometime between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, many of the pieces made with mammoth ivory and reindeer antler. Beautifully skilful work made by artists with an understanding of scale, perspective and abstraction, all concepts that we associate with the 'modern mind'.

This male figure caught my eye, perhaps because all the other figures were the female type we expect from this period (I've not seen a male figure before). Thought to be a doll or puppet like sculpture and made from mammoth tusk. 

I especially like the way the shadows implies legs.

This sophisticated, long, slim leaf shaped piece of flint is impressively thin. At just 6mm it's almost translucent and much too fragile to be a spear tip. We can see the skill and dexterity of the maker, (experimentation has shown it takes about 5 hours to make) but remain mystified as to why it was made.

My photograph does nothing for this piece. But this was the piece that made me draw a breath and think How Wonderful. I can not explain why - the elegance of the horses form, perhaps the abstracted woodland through which he runs, or the confidence of line, I don't know. . .
A pair of swimming reindeer, made from mammoth ivory.

The great court, the BM’s inner courtyard is the largest covered public square in Europe, a two-acre space enclosed by an impressive glass roof, and it feels fresh each time I see it.

On my way from the exhibition to the book shop - a foregone conclusion!
Back home and revealing the booty of my visit! 
Images from the book, Ice Age art, showing the imagination and the exquisite nature of the work on show. 

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