Ancient Art from 40,000 Years Ago

During the worst of an ice age?
This particular figurine is dated to be from the Upper Paleolithic, and from the same timeframe and geographic range of Cro-Magnons;

Humans did it 40K ago

We were carving out those magnificent figurines that Guy linked to and I put up a link to another. Meanwhile Neanderthals appear to have been scratching lines on tiny rocks as the picture in this thread that I put up shows. Go look at the pics and links on this thread and see for yourself.

Take a look at this figurine from 35,000 to 40,000 years ago. Lion-man - Wikipedia

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No doubt about it … BEASTIALITY … by definition!

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When I compare lines drawn by Neanderthals with an ivory carving of female lioness and human body, I get the same uneasy feeling when comparing a Picasso with a Rembrandt.


It is very eerie and beautiful.

Wulf Hein and Kurt Wehrberger conducted an experimental replication with the kinds of stone tool available at the time. Removing the base of the tusk took ten hours. The body was carved with steep-fronted scraper; the burins requiring regular resharpening. Several different tools were needed to separate the torso from the insides of the arms while shaping the head and shoulders, which involved difficult cutting across the grain of the ivory, often required two hands on the tool. The basic shaping took around 200 hours, and in total the recreation took more than 370 hours.[d] Jill Cook, Curator of Paleolithic collections at the British Museum, suggests that “unless the sculpture was created slowly at odd moments over several months, someone as skilled as an artist may have been excused from other subsistence tasks to work specially on this piece.”[15]

In his October 2017 BBC Radio 4 series Living with the Gods, Neil MacGregor asked Cook "[…] so why would a community living on the edge of subsistence, whose primary concerns were finding food, keeping that fire going, protecting children from predators, allow someone to spend so much time away from those tasks?"
Lion-man - Wikipedia

Art is extravagance, a contingent act driven by concerns other than survival. What do you think @AllenWitmerMiller?

God is extravagance, a contingent act driven by concerns other than survival. What do you think?

I think you are confusing the subject for the object. God is extravagant, not extravagance. He created us for concerns other than His survival.

And of course, God is not necessary for our survival. I do not believe in God because my life depends on it. I follow Him because I found that He exists and He is good.


Picasso and Rembrandt were both human, so if this is a “red team,” comment, I can’t figure out what it means. : )
What about the fire circle, hand stencils on cave walls, etc. If they seem like grade school crafts compared to artistic masterpieces, we are STILL talking about a gradient, not a complete disconnect.

Well there’s your proof it was neither done by H sapiens, nor H neanderthalis, but by Panthera spelaea, the cave lion. Or a hybrid - I bet nobody’s looked for lion genes in the human genome.:grinning:

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I think God is like art. It is an expression of the human brain. Art and God emerge once the brain evolves to a certain complexity. Sure He exists but only in mental abstraction like art. By determining when art emerged in humans, we can determine when God came into existence. Note that being human is not restricted to just one species and to only those who believe in God.

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Yes, it seems that what is art is in the eye of the beholder. Yesterday I was watching a robin build a nest near where I was sitting. She was a great nest engineer. She certainly had a well design intent. But I wouldn’t call it art. But looking at a hand stencil on a cave wave, I feel a connection to that human person over thousands of years. It is art to me. Given everything I know of the history of human origins, art seems to emerge slowly over time. So why not “in the image of God” emerging gradually over time? For that matter, why not God emerging gradually over time?

The absence of Panthera spelaea fossils and DNA points to an intelligent designer of something that didn’t exist in nature until that figurine’s creation. It is a unique piece created by a single intelligent designer. That designer transformed a piece of ivory into something that any intelligent person today can look at and be able to know and understand the expressive thoughts of the ancient human who craved it. I may not know what biological species the designer was, but the designer was certainly as human as I am. That much I know.

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Just wild speculation, but why assume that this lion-human figurine is just some odd work of art? Would these people, who were on the edge of starvation and knew no leisure, would they expend so much time and effort for art? Perhaps the figurine had religious significance. Maybe they had a lion-human god and this figurine was an idol they believed would protect them from predators.


Maybe. But you have to agree that it took human imagination to visualize this in a person’s mind and then to actually realize that mental image in the piece of art. Thousands of years later anyone looking at this artifact can readily say that it is a lion’s head and person’s body, an imaginary figure not found in nature.

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Are you saying that belief in God is not necessary or WAS not necessary for our survival? If so, I would agree with you and wonder why you don’t think that points to God’s existence.

Are you willing to say that evolution is driven by something other than mere survival value and functionality? If so, what is it driven by? It seems you’re dancing dangerously close to Thomas Nagel’s non-theistic teleological evolution.

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Belief in God was never necessary for human survival. However, I do think the belief in God(s) was a useful construct for cultures and societies to grow and flourish a few thousand years ago - say from 8000 years ago to 1000 years ago. But after that time period, God(s) were actually a hindrance for the growth of societies and cultures. Certainly today that is true in a secular factual evidenced based society that God(s) aren’t necessary and in many ways detrimental to society.