If with paintings in it. Some of

            If one looks up “What is Lascaux
Cave?” the first definition that comes up is “Lascaux Cave is a Paleolithic
cave situated in southeastern France, near the village of Montignac in the
Dordogne region, which houses some of the most famous examples of prehistoric
cave paintings.” This may be the textbook definition of Lascaux, but it is so
much more than just a Paleolithic cave with paintings in it. Some of these
portrayals of the different figures in the cave could possibly be the first
drawing or depiction of them ever created. In this cave, there are several
different rooms/sections with different types of paintings and etchings on the
wall.

            The first room in the cave is known as
“The Hall of the Bulls.” It contains one-hundred and thirty figures including
thirty-six animal representations, about fifty geometric signs, and the rest
being traces of activity. Several points of interest include “the unicorn,” on
the left wall which to me, does not look anything like a unicorn. It definitely
has some strange, interesting shapes, but it looks more like a bull with two
very long horns to me. There are also many horses of varying colors and sizes
shown on the right wall in this room/hall. Directly at the front of “the
unicorn”, a frieze of 8 black horses was painted over a length of 9 meters towards
the bottom of the cave wall. The technique of realization is identical for all
of the horses: puffed and stencil. Several of the horses are incomplete and the
seventh and eighth horses are only sketched. Another horse included on this
wall is known as the “Big Red and Black Horse” and it is the only bi-chrome
animal on the wall. It was painted by blowing for the head and body and
brushing for limbs, tail, back lines, belly, and chamfer. Other paintings on
the right wall are of deer and two very large bulls. The first bull is 3.50
meters long and about 3 meters high. Only the front end is included; however,
if it had been completed, it would have been the most imposing of Paleolithic parietal
art. The technique of realization is very similar to the second bull: the upper
part is treated with a brush, while the lower part is treated by spraying of
coloring matter. The second bull is 350 centimeters long and although just an
outline, it is very anatomically correct. The details of the bull include a
very pronounced horn, split bun, punctuation of the coat, sex supported.

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The
next room in the Lascaux cave is known as the Axial Diverticulum. It is 30
meters long and the décor includes one-hundred and sixty-one graphic entities,
including fifty-eight figurative representations, mainly animals. Included on the
right wall of the Axial Diverticulum is two red horses that are believed to be
painted by the projection of coloring matter. There are also two ibexes, a red
bison, a few more horses, a cow, and a deer. Perhaps the most interesting on
this wall are the Chinese horses. There are thee and the contour lines were
painted on with a brush. However, the other pictorial elements were done by
projecting coloring matter. On the left wall of the Axial Diverticulum, one of
the first things you see is the red cow with a black head, then 3 yellow horses.

Only fragments of these three horses can be seen, but some details are still
very well marked. Next you see a painting known as “Cow with The Falling Horn.”
Its image is inserted in between two of the three yellow horses previously
mentioned. Only part of the bovine is portrayed, as a whole, measuring 1.82
meters. Toward the end of the wall you see several more cows and bulls, including
that of the “Great Big Black Bull.” Measuring at 3.71 meters wide and 1.93
meters high, this is indeed a monumental work. Two graphic techniques were
applied in the painting of the “Great Big Black Bull.” The spine, the tail, and
the horn were traced with a brush. Everything else comes under the spray
method. Also on the left wall, we see what has been identified as a feline,
however I see a few black smudges of paint. Nearing the end of the left wall,
there are two yellow equine paintings facing each other. This is known as the “Panel
of Hémione.” Following that we see a few more horses, and a large red linear
arboreal sign. This 240 centimeter painting is known as the “Tree Sign.” The
entire figure was drawn with a brush or other tool flexible enough to allow the
pigments to penetrate the texture of the wall.

Returning
to “The Hall of the Bulls,” please direct attention to the right wall known as “The
Bear’s Panel” On this wall we see a third and fourth bull in similar style to
the ones discussed previously. There is also a small black deer and several
other bovine and equine creatures depicted. The most interesting depiction on
this wall is its namesake, “Black Bear.” The painting is incomplete, but it is
not hard to tell what this painting is. The bear’s posterior was painted by spraying,
and the tip of the nose, the ears, and the claws were painted by brush. As one
travels through the passage, there are not many points of interest. There are
remains of several drawings and engravings of cows and horses, but they are
hard to make-out. Deeper into the cave, is known as “The Nave.” Here the
paintings and engravings are hard to see to the untrained eye. However, they
are still amazing to view. One painting that is slightly easier to see is a
large buffalo painted in reddish brown and black. As Lascaux comes to a close,
one will come across the room known as “The Diverticulum of Felines,” which has
multiple etchings of different animals. Although it contains over 80 figures
etched into the cave wall, many of them are hard to see by the untrained eye.

One thing in this section that is easy to see is what looks like a Roman Numeral
XIII. No one really knows the purpose of this, or the other paintings and
etchings actually, but it is fun to theorize. Finally, there is “The Well” that
contains one of the more famous parts of Lascaux, “The Panel of the Injured Man.”
In this painting you see a Rhinoceros, a man with the head of a bird, a bird on
a stick, and a bison. Some scholars believe that the poor naturalism in the
human portrayal is due to a magico-religious reasoning. The artist of the
painting may have wanted to make the animals appear lifelike in order to
control them. Human fear of falling victim to the same magic may have been why
they portrayed the human in stick-figure form.

In
conclusion, Lascaux cave is one of the most amazing Paleolithic art displays in
the world. Without it and other artifacts from pre-historic times we would have
no portal or link to that time at all. In the words of Walter Darby Bannard, “You
don’t have to be a cave man to appreciate Lascaux.”