Lubang Jeriji Saléh
|Location||Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Karst, Bengalon, East Kutai|
|Region||East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo|
Lubang Jeriji Saléh is a limestone cave located in the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Karst in district of Bengalon, East Kutai, East Kalimantan province of Indonesian Borneo, believed to contain the oldest figurative art in the world.
Lubang Jeriji Saléh contains numerous cave paintings. The oldest of these paintings, created over 40,000 (perhaps as old as 52,000) years ago, is believed to be of a banteng bull. The bull is about 5 feet (1.5 meters) wide, and is made from reddish-orange ochre on the cave's limestone walls.
There are three "phases" identified within the cave's paintings. The first contains the bull and ochre hand stencils. The second contains more stencils in a "mulberry colour" along with depictions of humans. The third phase depicts humans, boats and geometric designs.
The cave paintings were first spotted in 1994 by the French explorer Luc-Henri Fage. In 2018, a team of scientists investigating the cave, led by Maxime Aubert from Griffith University and Pindi Setiawan from the Bandung Institute of Technology, published a report in the journal Nature identifying the paintings as the world's oldest known figurative art. The team had previously investigated cave paintings in the neighbouring island of Sulawesi. In order to date the paintings, the team used dating techniques on the calcium carbonate (limestone) deposits close to them.
The discovery of the cave paintings is important within human cultural history, as it adds to the view that cave art was created simultaneously in Southeast Asia and Europe. However, it is unknown which people created the paintings and what happened to them.
Francesco d'Errico, an expert in prehistoric art at the University of Bordeaux, described the investigation as a "major archaeological discovery", but also suggested that the discovery offered little information on the geographical origins of art.
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