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The narrow range of prehistoric art that is wildlife and fertility as well as the remoteness and inaccessibility of many of the cave paintings, sculptures and engravings discovered give an indication that the artworks were not "art for the sake of art" thus produced for pure decoration. The prehistoric men and women had much more relevant reasons for producing the artwork. Some of the reasons for their creation are:
1. A way to survive
2. A form of magic to overcome the animals that threatened his life
3. A form of ritual and worship
4. Teacher tools for amateur hunters
5. Record information and tell stories
6. Fertility charm
• As a means of survival
The predominance of animals in the various prehistoric arts, thus paintings, sculptures, engravings and ceramics, indicates the importance of animals in these communities. In fact, the entire survival and maintenance of the lives of cavemen and women depended largely on animals. The representation of the images of the animals in painting, engraving and sculpture was a form of charm or magic that guaranteed successful hunting of the wild and violent animals in the deep caves and thick forests. The points below illustrate how the animals hunted were used to fulfill the basic necessities of life of prehistoric men and women:
1. The meaty parts or the meat of the hunted animals is eaten as food.
2. The animal's outer cover or skin, the feathers of large birds and the fur coat are worn on the body as a form of fabric to protect against harsh climatic or weather conditions.
3. Grease and marrow collected from the animals were used as fuel in the lamps made of stone or clay.
4. The animals' fats and their blood are used to produce colored pigments and binders for colored ocher from stones.
5. The animals' legs were used for the production of simple weapons for hunting activities and as palettes for mixing colors.
6. In addition to the caves which served as the principal protection for the cave men and women, they made tents from animal skins and huts of clay, plant fibers, stones and bones.
• As a form of magic to overcome the animals that threatened his life
The prehistoric men were hunters and reliant on animals to survive.
But most of these animals were cruel and wild. Hunting for these animals was very risky as they hunted these animals with simple weapons, tools or tools. Because of this, the prehistoric men and women felt a kind of practical magic known as sympathetic magic or hunting magic. This hunting magic was based on the caveman's belief that there was a close connection or link between an object and its image. Therefore, everything done for the drawn image was assumed to affect the soul of the living animal.
In accomplishing this, the caveman deliberately omitted certain sensitive parts of the images of the animal to be hunted, such as eyes, ears and nose. It was believed that this prevented the living animal from seeing, hearing or smelling the presence of the caveman before hunting. Sometimes arrows were pierced into the images of the bodies. Grottman believed that this would ultimately render the animal powerless or wounded and get the animal under their control. The sympathetic magic was to ensure success in capturing or killing the animal. Fresh or new paintings were made for another day's hunting. This gave rise to the many cave paintings, engravings and sculptures.
• As a form of rituals, worship and initiation rites
The images of the animals confined to the surfaces or walls of the caves are believed to be objects of delight on which rituals for success in hunting activities were carried out. Special dances are believed to have been performed around the pictures for a good day hunt. During initiation ceremonies for young people living in these communities, images of the animals were used in the rituals.
• As a teaching tool for amateur hunters
The pictures of the animals served as teaching material to instruct new hunters about the nature of the different species they would encounter when hunting. It is said that experienced cave hunters may have used the images to point out parts of each species of animal that the first hours should be directed at spears so that hunting will not be a strenuous task for them.
• As a means of recording information and telling stories
Paintings and engravings by a group or herds of animals were used to record animal movements in the coming seasons. Some animal compositions such as the rhino composition, a wounded man and a bison found in the Lascaux cave in Dordogne, France, are believed to tell a story of a hunt or the death of a hero. Most of the compositions in the many cave paintings were believed to have been the prehistoric man's way of recording events and situations that he experienced in his hunting activities because there was no written form of recording events.
• As a fertility charm
The female sculptural figures discovered in the caves are believed to be fertility goddesses responsible for childbirth and the fertility of the earth. An example is "Venus of Willendorf". They emphasize potent fertility. Emphasis is placed on the figure's reproductive characteristics: exaggerated or large breasts, thighs, hips, abdomen and buttocks with small arms and legs. Scientists refer to them as "Venuses" because they were considered sexual objects by prehistoric men. In terms of function and form representation, they also resembled Venus, the Roman version of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, portrayed as naked. These figures believed to charge barren cave women with fertility power. They were also consulted through rituals to ensure fertility in the soil as the prehistoric men and women began farming during the Neolithic period.
The prehistoric men and women were great thinkers and philosophers who had powerful reasons for their creation which now serves as the foundation of today's art. They must be learned and appreciated.