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The Grendels of Gilf Kebir

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posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 04:11 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky


So what animal were they trying to draw here?

A giraffe and a lion, apparently with a human being in its jaws.




posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 04:12 AM
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a reply to: SoulVisions


Based on the images alone, these "monsters" appear to simply be primates of some sort.

Yep. Baboons. Which would be a reasonable guess for the region.



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 04:22 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

These are images from Eden; that halcyon period between the beginning of the Neolithic and the invention of static communities tied to agriculture, when human life attained a quality it has never since matched.

If I had to choose a period other than the present in which to be alive, I would probably choose this one.

Meanwhile, look upon this, and consider:




posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 05:50 AM
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There’s a man with possibly a hand-axe raised in his right hand whilst ten figures have their arms raised above. Isn’t that a universal sign for surrender and submission?


No! its probably a pre-diluvian soccer or cricket team being castigated by their Captain.

Kandinsky you've done it again...thanks for a great thread

S & F



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 08:06 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

Just my first reaction - the first one is a lion, looking down on the man he is eating

The 2nd one is a gorilla - no neck - all head

P.S. I should read the thread first - then reply

:-)






edit on 4/19/2016 by Spiramirabilis because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 08:46 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

Didn't mean to dismiss the monster angle - at all. It's just what I saw right off the bat

I've always wondered which came first - the monsters and myths or the art. I've stopped wondering because I think they came together and reinforced each other. Wondering about things we can't see or know would make us want to make it all tangible. Once you have that image it becomes possible and even more real in your mind

I've always loved surrealism. It seems to me that along with religion there's always been a place in the human mind for things we can't see. Archetypes seem to be built into us. I love that place

Just read this the other day:

Why Bosch’s Hell feels so real


Anthropologist Victor Turner wrote that liminal entities often appear as monsters, representing “the co-presence of opposites,” (high/low, scary/funny, good/evil, human/inhuman, alive/dead). There are two ways in which Bosch’s paintings of Hell are liminal. First, they are indeed realist. You may scoff at this, since the majority these days do not believe that Hell is real. But for Bosch and his contemporaries, Hell was a very real, very frightening place. His painted rendition may be studded with monsters he had never seen on Earth, but his audience was ready to believe that they lurked in the afterlife.



Later theorists picked up on this. Jacques Lacan thought that the unconscious, that liminal realm populated by archetypes, was structured, like a language has grammatical structures, and that these structures could be mapped and analyzed. Lacan might say that Bosch’s paintings are a projection of the unconscious, and the fact that, throughout his oeuvre, there are consistent image types and this surreal, liminal landscape means that his imagination and brush have projected the unconscious, given it structure that we might otherwise not have been able to articulate or, in this case, visualize. Another psychologist, Melanie Klein, described “unconscious phantasy”: “From the moment the infant starts interacting with the outer world, he is engaged in testing his phantasies in a reality setting. I want to suggest that the origin of thought lies in this process of testing phantasy against reality; that is, that thought is not only contrasted with phantasy, but based on it and derived from it.”



edit on 4/19/2016 by Spiramirabilis because: tiny unseen things



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 10:13 AM
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a reply to: Spiramirabilis

My view is the Beast is an early form of Ammit the devourer of souls..



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 11:08 AM
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a reply to: SoulVisions

They resemble baboons to me.



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 03:26 PM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: SoulVisions


Based on the images alone, these "monsters" appear to simply be primates of some sort.

Yep. Baboons. Which would be a reasonable guess for the region.


Yes, it's a reasonable guess and my initial thoughts went the same way. However, upon weighing up aspects like the way their legs are depicted and the golden decorations, I prefer the idea that they are depicting creatures in their mythology.

Prefer is the operative word as there's no clear way of knowing for sure. Nevertheless if they are poorly drawn lions or baboons, the inclusion of adornments suggests they are personifications of something mythical.

In that context, I don't see it as unreasonable to consider them as something other than baboons and lions.


originally posted by: Spider879
a reply to: Spiramirabilis

My view is the Beast is an early form of Ammit the devourer of souls..


Thanks for that. The one that looks like Ammit is in the intro of the video I included and is found in a different part of Gilf Kebir - The Cave of Swimmers. I agree it bears a strong resemblance. There's also an abstract white figure, overarching a scene, that is thought to be an early depiction of the Goddess Nut (link).

There are several other images in the cave I found striking and have them in mind for another thread one day. That's not to say I'm calling 'baggsies' on it and it's open to anyone to post.



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 03:49 PM
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a reply to: Spiramirabilis

Thanks.


Art, mythology and religions can be said to drink from the same well - imagination and creativity. The processes described by Melanie Klein (in your link) for expressing phantasy would be the same for whoever stencilled their hands on the walls here or drew the tableux.

I've mentioned it before around here. I believe some examples of ancient art represent shifting gears of the consciousness of individuals and communities. For example, an infant enjoys hand-painting and moves on to drawing very abstract figures that are supposed to be people and pets. Sometime later, as their brain develops, the figures become clearer and they might start to populate their pictures with imaginary forms.

With these Gilf Kebir images, I'm entertaining the idea that their oral traditions were being expressed as 'monsters' or mythologised critters.

At numerous points in history, people began to capture their imaginary deities in pigments and 'The Cave of Beasts' could represent one of those moments.


The artwork in Chauvet Cave predates Gilf Kebir and always reminds me of Franz Marc or Edvard Munch lithos.



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 04:00 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

I absolutely love your threads, and once again you fail to disappoint!

I have an observation of my own, pure speculation though.



What was happening here? Tribal conflicts? Power struggles? There’s a man with possibly a hand-axe raised in his right hand whilst ten figures have their arms raised above. Isn’t that a universal sign for surrender and submission?


I, for whatever reason, see these figures as cheering the technology wielding character who is, for some reason, bigger than they are.

Who was it that said: If I see farther than others it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants? Isaac Newton in a riposte to Robert Hooke apparently. I use the example for the metaphor.

Could this figure be, metaphorically, a giant amongst his kind? Could he have been the one who brought technology to the tribe? If even in the form of a spear, or an axe? Maybe the technology was such that it could rid his tribe of the monsters. Who knows?


edit on 19-4-2016 by Jonjonj because: Forgot the punchline



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 04:14 PM
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a reply to: Jonjonj

Good ideas


I wish the artists had used proportions and perspective a little more scrupulously. Small giraffes, big people, tiny people etc. So confusing and ambiguous...

You might be right in saying might is right (bad pun) and there's likely to be some power in that figure. It might have been an early iteration of the crook and flail that was later symbolic of Egyptian rulers.*


I'm curious about the placing of the scene on the rock face. That seam in the rock was obviously chosen to represent something abstract; it was key to the scene. There's an imbalance in the reflected figures with those standing being in similar stances and their counterparts in completely different positions.

* Byrd will probably 'crook and flail' me for getting carried away here

edit on 4.19.2016 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 04:23 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

I agree that the crease seems to have a reflective value that was taken advantage of by the artist(s).

Given that ONLY the large character has legs, and all the others are simply waist-up representations, perhaps the artist wanted to convey a past, a present and a future, with only the future capable of change/evolution/advance/movement. It has legs whereas the others do not, therefore they are immobile and incapable of change.

Those below the line could be the dead, those above the living and those yet to live.

Fun to speculate.




posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 04:35 PM
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a reply to: Jonjonj



Those below the line could be the dead, those above the living and those yet to live.


It's an inviting train of thought, isn't it? Whilst jumbling together the OP, I counted out those above versus those below and there are a lot more below. The ones below are significantly smaller too and seem more lively in their poses than those with arms raised above.

I was beginning to project all sorts of interpretations on the scene and had to remind myself that we'll never know what the artist intended there.

It's easy to understand why the cave has inspired so much interest.



posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 04:47 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

One wonders, with the advancement of computer technology, if perhaps interpretation may not be the next big step in archaeology. After all, when one can take into account ALL possible relationships/references/records it might start to show correlations previously not thought of.

I do hope so.




posted on Apr, 19 2016 @ 06:51 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

I have always found cave paintings to be intriguing.


It wouldn't be surprising if these monsters were actually the artists' interpretations of fossils they'd come across. That could also account for the proportional difference in size between man and beast.



posted on Apr, 20 2016 @ 07:36 AM
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Pretty educational and informative, inspiring too. I like this kinds of topics on ATS, which promote the vehicles to move in the direction that is prominent to lead to good. And art is so much timeless thing, like it connects us with the authors, but we cannot realize it in logical sense, yet I believe we can hear them. Thanks, for the phone call in time.



posted on Apr, 20 2016 @ 11:47 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

Perhaps it's supposed to be some kind of Buffalo? Much More interesting to me is the fact that there are drawings of what look like Dinosaurs! Brontosaurus anybody? Definitely not built like a Giraffe. Great post! Gave you a star



posted on Apr, 20 2016 @ 02:55 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

Is there any chance these people might have attempted the capture and domestication of cattle? I think a subspecies of aurochs lived in the region (though I've not checked to see if the time lines up right) and the beast in the net below the giraffes looks an aweful lot like a very muscular bovine in a rope net or maybe even a rope harness.

Perhaps the artist who did the stampede (or baboons according to other members) wasn't as gifted as the fellow who did the netted beast. Even today, without training its difficult to draw animals (legs in particular can be very difficult to get right). go draw a horse from memory and see what you get. I'd be willing to bet the artist had more experience painting humans and did the best he could on the critters and in the process slightly anthropomorphized some of the legs of what could actually be large intimidating bovine of some sort, creating what does kind of look like giant rampaging headless baboon monsters.

In the "baboon"/stampede painting it almost seems the artist gave up before finishing the beasts faces, some don't have heads at all. Even if they are baboons they should have heads and snouts. Perhaps he was so unhappy with the legs he decided to find a new patch of wall to work on. Artists are critical of their work, and while these cave paintings are a huge deal to us today, they were the scrap paper of choice at the time because the artist was safe from the elements but i see no reason why it wouldnt be just as possible to screw up a drawing then as it is today, the biggest difference being that today we crumple up our bad drawings whereas if you do a sub par job on an everlasting cave wall you get the added embarrassment of people thinking your cows are giant rampaging baboon monsters for many thousands of years.

edit on 20-4-2016 by LordSnow21 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 20 2016 @ 03:12 PM
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a reply to: LordSnow21

Thanks for the detailed ideas :up

I had similar ideas regarding a solo artist as opposed to several over a longer period. We never know what artistic talent the individuals might have had and we'll never know if it was a young beginner or seasoned artist. As you say, maybe the person who drew the 'beasts' hadn't sussed out the mechanics of quadrupeds. Perhaps he'd committed himself to drawing 'pantomime horse' legs and only realised the mistake when it was too late.

It's like modern-day graffiti in some ways. Once a piece has gone wrong, it's too late to change. The best artists plan them out and do practice sketches beforehand. The amateurs make a mess and don't know how to adapt and improve - it comes with experience.

On the idea of cattle? Going off memory, people of the period and region were on the way to domesticating cattle and followed them around through the available pastures. They weren't able to produce milk like modern cattle and it was a custom (in dry periods) to pierce their jugulars and drink the blood for fluid and sustenance.

Seriously though, that's a great post you made



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