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Recreating The Lion Man of Hohlenstein

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posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 05:42 AM
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I rarely hang out in the Ancient Civs area of ATS but I've been discussing one of my main loves here recently; Primitive Craft-Work - and I wanted to share something that I hope some of you will find as interesting as I did.

Firstly, this relates to a treasure of Human Art and so far at least, The World's Oldest Figurative Sculpture - The Lionman of Hohlenstein Stadel.







The first fragments of this piece of Ice-Age art, carved from Mammoth Ivory were discovered in 1939 in the Swabian Alps in Germany and assembled in 1970, more pieces were gradually uncovered and added in 1989 when most observers agreed that it represented a Lion rather than a Bear. Now more minute fragments have been discovered:




The latest news is that almost 1,000 further fragments of the statue have been found, following recent excavations in the Stadel Cave by Claus-Joachim Kind. Most of these are minute, but a few are several centimetres long. Some of the larger pieces are now being reintegrated into the figure.

Conservators have removed the 20th-century glue and filler from the 1989 reconstruction, and are now painstakingly reassembling the Lion Man, using computer-imaging techniques. “It is an enormous 3D puzzle”, says the British Museum curator Jill Cook.


While the figure was initially dated as being 32,000 years old, the most recent dating evidence suggests a revised age of 40,000 years and further testing on fragments of the piece should be concluded before too long.

It is estimated that the maker of this piece may have spent about 400 hours scraping away at Mammoth Ivory with sharp pieces of flint to achieve his or her masterpiece. This is quite astounding given the time period, when everyone was conventionally thought to be a jack-of-all-trades struggling for survival in the harshest of conditions (an exaggeration really, although a commonly held one). But this individual artist was quite possibly commissioned to make this (some 40,000 years ago), and for a while at least did not have to perform the typical tasks of gathering food and other resources, performing community tasks and so forth while making this item. Clearly making this sculpture was regarded as a very important task.

Some of you may have seen Werner Herzog's documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams about Chauvet Cave. I did and absolutely loved it; featured in the movie is Wulf Hein who is an artist who reproduces ancient art works using primitive tools. I came across a video of him making a reproduction of this wonder in ancient Mammoth Ivory- well, highlights at least and thought that many here would find it quite fascinating, as well as being enlightening to see what can be achieved by scraping away at something with nothing more than a stone.

Enjoy!



Wulf Hein really is an astounding artist in my opinion and must possess levels of patience and focus that I can hardly begin to imagine. I have a few other examples of his work, experiments in primitive tools and related clips etc that I may share later. Thanks for reading.





posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 06:13 AM
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a reply to: skalla

I very much enjoyed watching that. The way the production cut from one process (rasping) to another (scraping) was almost musical in a percussive, rhythmic way.

The amount of hours involved was daunting and I wonder if Hein has the advantage of experience over the original artist/s or the other way round? Perhaps these objects were roughly formed by several lesser skilled folk and then the real artist would take it to the finish line?

The idea that the object was 'commissioned' is plausible and it could have been a gift to someone of power - locally or further afield. The thought also crosses my mind that it might have been an emblem for a community too. Speculative enough, but it seems like people have been using signs and names as part of their own identities and to show who are the others for a long time.



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 06:42 AM
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Hey Skalla,

I thought you may be interested in reading this thread. The Lion People was actually mentioned on Coast to Coast last night.

www.abovetopsecret.com...

Pladuim



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 08:12 AM
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originally posted by: skalla
I rarely hang out in the Ancient Civs area of ATS..

Regrettably true.
Star and flag.

Harte



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 08:25 AM
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a reply to: skalla

Thanks for a great post. Just one thing I'd like to mention, you state


struggling for survival in the harshest of conditions (an exaggeration really, although a commonly held one)


We sometimes make "logical" presumptions without real evidence. Who's to say the craftsman wasn't in an era of moderate climate, wild prey bountiful. The mammoth tusk may have been salvaged from bones (from an earlier epoch) lying in the ground. Great thread, I love reading about our unresolved past.

S + F



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 09:08 AM
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Considering that ancient man didn't have tv, what was he depicting here? It this an abstract thought, or something he had actually seen? In Africa the Bantu people speak of Lion beings. In Egypt we have Sekhmet, Wadjet, and Bast etc.. And in India we have recollections of the Nara-Simha (Man-Lion). These were all lion type hominoids. It is said that they are the creators of humankind. Today we have coined the phrase "Paschat(s)". They are supposed to be master geneticists. Recently in Mexico, a group of Paschats was said to have been seen. They are not feline beings, they are hominoid with feline characteristics.



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 09:38 AM
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a reply to: skalla

Very nice, as for the upright stance cats can stretch themselves and 'stand' if supported, on two legs but I would suspect the artist went with a two legged statue because of the limitations of chosen piece of ivory, long and thin.



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 10:00 AM
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originally posted by: Oannes
Considering that ancient man didn't have tv, what was he depicting here?

You lost it right there.

See, even with TV, someone has to create the half lion, half man idea.

So what difference does it make that "that ancient man didn't have tv..."?

Harte



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 10:49 AM
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Thanks for your time and comments folks, I sometimes wonder if this kinda of material is of much interest to readers at ATS so I'm glad I spared a bit of time to post here.

a reply to: Kandinsky


It absolutely is a hypnotising process to watch and i expect it was much the same for Wulf. I'm sure he would not have been able to complete the task without the deepest possible engagement and I know myself from far (far, far!) lesser tasks that a rhythmic method is needed to bear the stresses and strains of difficult and laborious artwork.
Wulf Hein is a full time primitive artist, working mostly for museums though i do not know how long he has pursued this path; but the Aurignacian people of this region had a rich tradition of Ivory carving and the "Lion Man" is probably the finest example of their work that we have, so I'd guess that the ancient crafts-folk have the edge on Wulf.... however I will try to post some of his other work, as well as that of the ancient crafts people of this region when get time, hopefully later tonight.
As for the overall process and method, it is quite possible that a production line method was in place where an apprentice would do rough shaping and a master would work on the detail. I have some sources relating to ivory working in the area but I've only skimmed through them so far - I would not be surprised if there are finds showing groups of ivory workers sitting in groups just like ancient folk making flint tools often did (surrounded by piles of waste) but I wont have time to read these until maybe the weekend.
Besides the idea of an ancient "commission" I suppose it could also be the case that one maker simply spent an hour or so a day on this work for a year or more, but personally I really like the idea that a skilled individual was chosen to make an item of huge local cultural import and the rest of the community (or a rich and powerful individual) ensured that the artist was fed and looked after etc. Either way it allows us some fascinating speculation



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 11:02 AM
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a reply to: Pladuim

My word, that certainly is an interesting thread, something of an ATS classic perhaps!

a reply to: Harte

Thank you! I often stop by, but sometimes I'd just feel like a spoil-sport and having spent so much time studying and discussing archaeology, prehistory, mythology etc in other arenas my interest in still doing so has somewhat waned. I'm really more interested in crafting nowadays.

a reply to: TheConstruKctionofLight

You are right, and i was really challenging the assumption of the harsh life. From what i read the Swabian Alps were at the time pretty cold and dry with plenty of stuff to hunt. Of course when you are used to such conditions then survival is not so difficult in the grand scheme of things, and producing beautiful artwork that requires countless hours of work is a good sign that life was not so difficult, relatively speaking (ETA: apparantly the local folk migrated throughout the local area seasonally too, just fyi etc)
I cant find the source right now in my jumble of saved links i made on this earlier today, but i believe there is evidence that the tusk came from a contemporary local kill; though it is interesting to note that Wulf Hein made his reproduction from ancient Ivory. Many people would be surprised to find that it is still possible to buy ancient Mammoth Tusks as they are sometimes discovered in bogs and permafrost in pretty large numbers - plenty of hunters of such things produce blogs on this, i used to have a load saved on my previous pc but meh


edit on 23-7-2014 by skalla because: minor eta



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 11:15 AM
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I'm gonna deal with other replies a little later as my brain hurts (i was trying to have a lazy day of hanging out with my boy and probably should have posted this on another day), but here are a couple of clips of some of Wulf's other works.

Firstly, a repro bone flute:



And there is another vid of him grinding a polished flint axe - i was going to post this in isolation but seeing as i'm a flint junkie, i may as well show you how the blank was made. This is actually the guy who made the blank that Wulf works on...

The blank, by Marquardt Lundt



and then Wulf grinding a very similar blank into one of human kinds most important tools:



edit on 23-7-2014 by skalla because: typo



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 11:52 AM
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a reply to: skalla

Just to add, at that latitude you get very long winter nights, at worse 16 hours long you need something to keep you busy or the reverse in the summer you get 16 hour long days.



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 04:02 PM
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a reply to: skalla

I initially thought this was going to be a rehash of the em earlier thread on the Lion man. I was pleasantly surprised with the video posted. Thanks for putting this together as it was pretty cool to see the reconstruction and implementation with aurignacian tools. S&F



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 04:48 PM
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a reply to: Oannes

Well that's new to me, although personally I take it as a piece of art work representing either a Lion (see my response to Hanslune below) or an anthropomorphic figure of some kind of deity/totem; and the stories of human/animal beings as being an archetypal representation - but you offer an interesting alternative viewpoint and thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.

a reply to: Hanslune

I think that you have nailed it really. The only "human" element of the piece is arguably the upright stance - the "hands" and "feet" are entirely un-human (and quite Leonine) and I think it's fair to assume that the artist most likely had the skill to represent these as human if so desired. Given the Ivory working tradition that this culture had (judging from finds etc) it seems far more likely to me too that the artist was indeed working within the constrains of the material and represented the Lion as upright for this reason. So perhaps not the "Lion Man" at all.

a reply to: peter vlar

I'm happy that you were pleasantly surprised - i was also hoping to find a clip of Wulf making a replica of an ornate Atlatl spur modelled after an Ibex but my powers have failed me sadly.

There is a short article on it here, but for some reason i cannot copy the pictues, and when i tried to open it in IE rather than Chrome it crashed my browser, so be aware!



posted on Jul, 25 2014 @ 08:21 PM
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So I'm left to wonder if this figure also points to settlement. Hunter gatherers travel lightly, only taking what they need. Perhaps possessions such as this were left behind, to be reclaimed upon returning the following winter. Maybe the figure is a hunters idol used in winter when game is scarce. Interesting weekend reading to be had.



posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 07:39 AM
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Updating and bumping - i saw the Lionman referred to elsewhere on these boards as a "one off" and used as evidence of hidden history, suggesting that this piece indicates man was far more culturally advanced ("etc etc") than previously thought.

I gotta tackle this.

So the Lionman is exceptional due to size and the time taken to make it - there are other contemporary Ivory finds in the area - some are outlined in this paper - now there are not many, but it shows they were crafting detailed Ivory artworks, some of which i believe show greater craftsman ship (the Bison in particular) - the thing that marks the Lionman out is the length of time that went into it, and the (i believe erroneous) suggestion that it is a figurative depiction of a blend of Lion and Man.

Below are some further items of Ivory ice-age art that put the Lionman into context as part of a wider tradition of craft and art-work.


Mammoth Ivory Bison, from Zaraysk, Russia. Dated approx 20kya





Woman's Head, from Dolni Vestonice, Cz, approx 26kya



The Venus of Lespugue, approx 25kya



The World's oldest Puppet or Doll? Cz iirc, approx 20 kya



All of the original art in this thread was made by modern humans between 20 to 40kya, in mammoth ivory using flint tools. It is wonderful that's for sure, but it's only astounding and "game changing" when you have no context to put it in and have little respect for our ancestors. Grrrr

ETA: just spotted a, hmm, "nubbin" on the "puppet". That's some mighty detailed carving and i'm betting he is very proud that it survived. Real man right there.
edit on 16-8-2014 by skalla because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 08:00 AM
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originally posted by: skalla
Updating and bumping - i saw the Lionman referred to elsewhere on these boards as a "one off" and used as evidence of hidden history, suggesting that this piece indicates man was far more culturally advanced ("etc etc") than previously thought.



I gotta tackle this.



So the Lionman is exceptional due to size and the time taken to make it - there are other contemporary Ivory finds in the area - some are outlined in this paper - now there are not many, but it shows they were crafting detailed Ivory artworks, some of which i believe show greater craftsman ship (the Bison in particular) - the thing that marks the Lionman out is the length of time that went into it, and the (i believe erroneous) suggestion that it is a figurative depiction of a blend of Lion and Man.



Below are some further items of Ivory ice-age art that put the Lionman into context as part of a wider tradition of craft and art-work.





Mammoth Ivory Bison, from Zaraysk, Russia. Dated approx 20kya










No good.

It's not a "bison man" so it's beside the point!


Harte



posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 09:28 AM
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a reply to: Harte

Bah, my spirit guide informs me that the missing left feet were in-fact carved as wearing some natty Birkenstocks, so your point is moot.




posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 10:57 AM
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originally posted by: skalla
a reply to: Harte

Bah, my spirit guide informs me that the missing left feet were in-fact carved as wearing some natty Birkenstocks, so your point is moot.


Bah!

That's merely evidence that this bison couldn't dance - he had two left feet.

Sorry, try again!

Harte



posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 03:40 PM
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a reply to: skalla

I often like to muse on how much great art was lost because our ancestors probably carved extensively in wood.




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