The “hand” as an ancient artistic motif

This morning when I picked up the NY Times, my attention was grabbed by the front page article, “With Science, New Portrait of the Cave Artist.”  I’ve always been fascinated by ancient cave art.  Now, with a new way of dating the art, it is found to be much older than originally thought.

Listen to this:  “An international team determined that the red disc in the cave known as El Castillo was part of the earliest known wall decorations, at a minimum of 40,800 years old.  That makes it the earliest cave art found so far in Europe.

How is this related to quilting?  The article states, “The handprints (there is a picture of these which you can likely access at the NYT web site if you don’t have the paper) common at several of the Spanish caves were stencils, probably made by blowing pigment on a hand placed against the cave wall.  The oldest example, at El Castillo, proved to be at least 37,300 years old, which scientists said “considerably increases the antiquity of the motif and implies that depictions of the human hand were among the oldest art known in Europe.”” 

Those of us involved in quilting know that the hand has long been used as a quilting motif and now we know there is a much longer history of it as an artistic motif than we had previoulsy thought!  It’s in our artistic DNA!  Also, we have an incredibly long history of decorating our environment to make it beautiful.

Here is a close up of the hands I used in my Cocheco Folk Art Friendship Quilt:


Thanks for stopping by!


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