Bone carving

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Alaska Grasendes Karibu c1910 Linden-Museum.

Bone carving encompasses the acts of creating art, tools, and other goods by carving animal bones, antlers, and horns. It can result in the ornamentation of a bone or the creation of a distinct object. Bone carving has been practiced by a variety of world cultures, sometimes as a cheaper, and recently a legal, substitute for ivory carving.[1] It was important in prehistoric art, with notable figures like the Swimming Reindeer, made of antler, and many of the Venus figurines. The Anglo-Saxon Franks Casket is a bone casket imitating earlier ivory ones.

A face carved on a piece of curved bone. The face is framed by hair and part of a winged head-dress remains. Coptic.

Bone was also used by artists and craftsmen to try out their designs, especially by metalworkers. Such pieces are known as "trial-pieces".

In July 2021, scientists reported the discovery of a bone carving, one of the world's oldest works of art, made by Neanderthals about 51,000 years ago.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sims, Margaret E.; Baker, Barry W.; Hoesch, Robert M. (2011). "Tusk or Bone? An Example of Ivory Substitute in the Wildlife Trade". Ethnobiology Letters. 2: 40–45. doi:10.14237/ebl.2.2011.27. JSTOR 26419931.
  2. ^ Feehly, Conor (6 July 2021). "Beautiful Bone Carving From 51,000 Years Ago Is Changing Our View of Neanderthals". ScienceAlert. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  3. ^ Leder, Dirk; et al. (5 July 2021). "A 51,000-year-old engraved bone reveals Neanderthals' capacity for symbolic behaviour". Nature Ecology & Evolution. 594 (9): 1273–1282. doi:10.1038/s41559-021-01487-z. PMID 34226702. S2CID 235746596. Retrieved 6 July 2021.