Talk:Prehistoric art

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remove scope tag[edit]

It's difficult to see any particular Western-centric bias in this article? Can anyone simply LIST preshistoric art finds from Asia? (older than say 10,000 years.) Are there many? Have there been any good finds yet? If there are, click EDIT and put them in the article. If there are not, the silly tag should be removed.

Limited geographic scope[edit]

If this article doesn't show the Western-centric bias on Wikipedia, I really don't know what does. Ashibaka tlk 02:20, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The headings are there, which indicates an attempt to avoid bias. It's just that we're waiting for someone who knows about the subject to add more. adamsan 12:15, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)
This article is completely lacking in native arts of Asia. It doesn't even have a heading for Asia. Since Asia is the largest continent and it does have a rich history, I'd be surprised if it didn't have any notable pre-historic art. SCHZMO 19:36, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Ridiculous. If you want to add sections on Asia prehistoric art, click the EDIT button and go for it.

Missing rock art styles[edit]

Any reason x-ray style is not mentioned? (Google gives about 500000 hits) One example is from 6000 BCE, and as these occur many places over the world it should satisfy this complaining on limited geographic scope. Also there is another style where deer or similar animal is looking backwards, the English name of which I cannot recall. This too is found in many places in the world. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.164.112.1 (talkcontribs) 2005-06-29t10:25:02z

This comment is so vague as to be not very valuable. If you want to add a section on some particular type of prehistoric art, do some reasearch and then click the EDIT button.

Odd article[edit]

The following was posted as a new article called Talk talk:Prehistoric-art by User:Menahem. I have tagged the article as speedy and copied the contents here. Reyk 19:51, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

On Paleolithic art; the eminent author, Arnold Hauser had this to say: "The Palaeolithic hunter and painter thought he was in possession of the thing itself in the picture, thought he had acquired power over the object in the portrayal of the object. He believed the real animal actually suffered the killing of the animal portrayed in the picture. The pictorial representation was to his mind nothing but the anticipation of the desired effect; the real event had inevitably to follow the magical sample-action, or rather to be already contained within it, as both were separated from each other merely by the supposedly unreal medium of space and time. It was, therefore, by no means a question of symbolical surrogatory functions but of really purposive action. It was not the thought that killed, not the faith that achieved the miracle, but the actual deed, the pictorial representation, the shooting at the picture, that effected the magic."

More; female animal representations never show spear marks; because the belief in magic resulted in a desire to preserve the species for future hunting.

Hauser was a Marxist; and so it is not surprising that he believed that artists need patrons. Yet there is much truth in that contention; especially in later times, e.g. the Italian Renissance, where Pope Julius and the Medici Family both patronized Michaelangelo.

     Hauser is nonetheless quite sexist in his analysis of Palaeolithic art.  There is plenty
     of newer scholarship that even takes hunting "out of the picture" altogether.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by 198.108.82.128 (talk) 20:16, August 26, 2007 (UTC) 
The comments above seem extremely irrelevant to this article, which is, and should be, an overview of prehistoric art.

Primitive art[edit]

I think the term "pre-historic" art is all wrong.

You are quite wrong. "primitive" is a stylistic description. "prehistoric" is a well-accepted term spanning particular eras.

I think the topic name should be changed to "primitive art". There are a number of reasons, but the most obvious is that this article is intended to encompass aboriginal art which clearly co-exist with the western culture's historical period. How can it be pre-history? Trying to lump aborignals into pre-history by calling them preliterate is also problematic. The term preliterate implies a developmental model to all human socities which is inapplicable outside of western culture. If you must talk about the technology of writing simply "nonliterate" will do. I will make these changes.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.49.145.27 (talkcontribs) 2006-02-28t00:10:50z

I would like some help on making the change to the art history series that this art should be called 'primative'. How can this been done?—Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.49.145.27 (talkcontribs) 2006-02-28 00:31:17
See WP:MOVE. -- Jeandré, 2006-02-28t19:13z
Well, one can look at art from the historical or geographic perspectives. Both are valid and useful for the study of art and peoples. Primitive art is more of a style than a time period. Thus, pre-historic art serves an anthropological function just like pre-historic food production or pre-historic weapons. Naïve art already exists as an an article (which primitive redirects to.) Does that not address your concern? Marc Mywords 20:42, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually according to Anthropologists,"Primitive," is an ethnocentric term. It implies that one human society is less advanved than another. The term primative is used for modern Austrlian-native (previously known as Aboriginies)but they are not less advanced than other societies. For examply whle they have not invvented the cell phone, they do know how to survive in a desert enviornment, find water in ususual places etc. They are not primitive. "Pre-historic," though a misnomer, is appropriate because it in this context means before history was recorded in writing. Truly though art began well before the Paleolihic period! Besides writing history is told through archaeology, myth and lore, chant and song, carbon dating, foot and hand prints, food source remains and more. Redford Robbins (talk) 00:55, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Iron age?[edit]

If the intention of this article is prehistoric and nonliterate art, why the hell are the neolithic, bronze, and iron ages included? I feel these ought to be removed and placed in their own home, since the art of these epochs is clearly historical.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.49.145.27 (talkcontribs) 2006-02-28 00:25:28

I just checked, they already have their own home! See: ancient art.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.49.145.27 (talkcontribs) 2006-02-28 00:26:38


What about MALTA. Shouldn't it be mentioned, as the site of the world's most ancient structures? Poorly researched page. 87.74.127.29 18:25, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone really care that much about Malta?  :-) The time scales mentioned on this page (eg, Africa caves 70,000 years old) are far older than some buildings in Malta. Why not add what you know about Malta to the Malta page?

Gee whizz![edit]

This article has an awful lot of knockers and very few positive contributors! What about it? --Amandajm 04:54, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

No kidding.


Uh, this is the pursuit of knowledge AND an encyclopedia, not a feel good party. Art History has been one of the most problematic disciplines for the production of lies and biases. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 198.108.82.128 (talk) 20:21, August 26, 2007 (UTC)

book?[edit]

What are the best coffeetable picture books or reference books about ALL prehistoric art ever made? including all genres, all archetypes, etc.?--Sonjaaa 11:10, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

try amazon.com, use the search field

Mesolithic Letters: Just Like "Ours"[edit]

So what's up with that line in the Mesolithic section that says: "...it's the first letters ever found and it looks just like our letters. It says: Stine for den hårdt i prutten af en kat..."

That's kind of weird, and doesn't sound likely. And who's letters are they? The Latin alphabet? I think someone should explain this more thoroughly, with some sort of reference, and re-word it because it just doesn't sound encyclopedic. Or I'll just delete it. Cool?--Cosmiclingo 22:45, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Actually according to archaeologists mesolythic periods in Israel, Greek Islands, certain parts of Italy and certain parts of Ireland developed writing with some characters similar to the modern European alphabet. However in Iraq Cunieform which is extremely difficult to dechipher was dominant. Persian and other languages evolved differently. In India, Sanskrit which some argue is the oldest written language is very similar in writing character to modern languages of the region. Chinese characters while looked similar to modern ones developed independantly in different parts of China and were standardized about 700 CE. They were adopted in Japan about 300 years later. The languages of Phoenicia, The Great Zimbabwe, Mali, Minoa and Mycanae are still indecipherable to modern linguists. It is interesting that we only have about 30% of the works of Homer surviving and of that thirty percent less than 1/3 has been translated. The language of the Etruscans is completely baffling but we do have works by Estrucan authors like Ovid available because the early Romans managed to translate them into Latin before the other language was lost. Likewise there are no surviving examples of Ancient Greek painting but we do have Roman copies of these works. Redford Robbins (talk) 01:15, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
what absolute twaddle. --dab (𒁳) 11:27, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Earliest controversial finds[edit]

Certainly art began way before the Paleolythic era. It is good that Homo erectus is mentioned in this article; he is the decendant of Homo ergaster who migrated out of Africa to Western, Central, East and Southeast Asia. However, one might go as far back as Austrolepithicus Africanus to see rudimentary artistic designs onn stone tools. Certainly this can be seen in some laterr Homo habilus artifacts and Homo ergaster and Homo erectus who are closely related left designs, carvings and possibly jewelry which was found on the Indonesian island of Flores and in Mocambique. H. erectus caves in China also have fantastic finds though many of these pieces were lost in the 1930s - 1950s. Homo neanderthalensis for sure had elaborate burials as well as jewelry and decorated tool. Homo heidelbergensis even had cave painting which today is greatly damaged. The earlist modern humans who left a record in art is debatable but the Cro-magnon is generally well known because of caves in France, Spain and Italy, countries with few political problems and that are easily accessible. Redford Robbins (talk) 01:15, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

splitting article[edit]

The scope of the article is far too large. The Paleolithic stuff should be split off to a dedicated Art of the Upper Paleolithic, and the remaining sections should be split in one article per continent (one article per h2 section). WP:SS. There is no point of keeping six distinct articles on a single page. --dab (𒁳) 15:48, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

No kidding. Before I added stuff about Africa, South America, and Korea, this article was, well, horribly out of balance (and it still is, due to the nearly complete absence of material on two continents). While I only fitfully add stuff here, I was going to split things up when it had a bit more balance, with at least summary (or summarizable) materials for the missing continents. Magic♪piano 16:47, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
well, pre-Columbian artis of course prehistoric, but it is usually just called pre-Columbian art. It seems a little silly to have the "Americas" section in this article discuss the topic at much greater length than the entire dedicated pre-Columbian art article. --dab (𒁳) 11:30, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Because the main article is actually at Native American art, not pre-Columbian art. 75.41.110.200 (talk) 02:38, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

See Other Issue[edit]

Nobody is denying that venus figures represent an important feature of prehistoric art. Goddess figures also appear prominently in early historic art. However, in both the former and the latter, so do animistic and masculine deity images. As such a see also to mother goddess is not as appropriate as one to prehistoric religion. The latter links to goddess in its own "see also" section and so the link is present for somebody who cares to look. As the mother goddess article contains information about a host of deities from the prehistoric all the way to new religious movement uses of goddesses it is a poor link to information on the features of prehistoric religion even as it relates to art.Simonm223 (talk) 20:18, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Years in art[edit]

While stub-sorting I've found various articles like 80,000 BC in art which need some attention - not a "year" article, doesn't say what period it purports to cover, etc. It's not clear what hierarchy of articles there ought to be for the early periods of art. These are linked in the page List_of_years_in_art and in the category Category:Years in art, and Table_of_years_in_art#Other_years_in_art is a bit vague about them. Someone more expert in art history, or in the handling of "years" in WP, might like to tidy them up! I'll post this message at a couple of other relevant pages in the hope of finding an appropriate enthusiast to take them on. PamD (talk) 07:38, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

We can't refine prehistoric art down that far. But that can be a redirect to Art of the Middle Paleolithic. Any others need to be redirect to that, Art of the Upper Paleolithic, etc. Dougweller (talk) 11:36, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

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Why Andean Civilizations Here?[edit]

I do not think that it is appropriate that Andean Civilizations be included under and article about "Prehistoric Art."

The first argument for my position is that the term "Prehistoric" refers to cultures without a directly recorded history: The Inka, and also the Chimú, clearly had this, as, not only did the Inka khipukamayuq and amwata obviously transfer their historical knowledge to their Spanish conquerors.

Secondly, the fact that the khipu were arguably writing and pre-dated them by well over four millennia (see Charles C. Mann's article here, the Khipu Database Project by Gary Urton here and, if you can get it, the book "Writing without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica.")

For both these reasons, I propose that we move the section on Andean Civilizations's arts to a new article.

自教育 (talk) 21:17, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Cultures with "Lost Writing" Prehistoric?[edit]

The introduction states something to the effect of "cultures that had, but subsequently lost, writing are classified as Prehistoric." It specifically cites the Maya as an example. But I also note that, while the Maya and other Mesoamerican Civilizations are indeed classified as "Prehistoric" by having a section in this article, I see nothing of Bronze Age Greece, which, quite like the Maya, developed writing (such as deciphered Linear B), but then, for at least part of the Greek Dark Ages, lost it. Is it not contradictory that there is no section on Bronze Age Greek Civilizations but on the Mesomamerican Civilizations, even though the Maya Script has been deciphered but Cretean Hieroglyphs have not been? This seems to me to be obviously biased towards a Eurocentric historical perspective.

自教育 (talk) 22:37, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

No, it's just because no one has added such a section. Feel free to do so. Johnbod (talk) 00:50, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

urls to journalistic articles vs. encyclopedic content[edit]

this is hardly the way to do it. The anon replaced a summary paragraph to the main article with some random journalism reporting on some random claim made in 2014.

Instead of clicking "rollback", people tried some minor fixes and left it. The "reference" was still a naked url to journalism, even though the Nature article was directly linked from there. Not even googling was required, I really don't understand this.

I fixed it, then restored the blanked paragraph.

Please, people watching this page, next time an anon breaks the article, either roll it back or fix it. This is a WP:SS summary of the main article, Art of the Middle Paleolithic, and random additions of "somebody claimed some thing in 2014", even after it has been properly referenced, probably belongs not here but on the main page. --dab (𒁳) 10:33, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

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Neanderthal art 64 K years ago[edit]

Images in three different caves in various parts of Spain almost certainly have to be labeled art (e.g., images of animals). Since they are more than 60,000 years old, they have been interpreted as having been made by Neanderthals, they being the only Homos for which there is evidence of their presence on the Iberian Peninsula at that time. <“U-Th dating of carbonate crusts reveals Neanderthal origin of Iberian cave art”> This should be added to the article, but since the article jumps around a bit, I did not know where best to insert it. Kdammers (talk) 12:31, 18 March 2018 (UTC)