Museum of the Origins of Man

HUMAN HEAD AND HUMAN HEAD WITH BODY IN POST- PALEOLITHIC SCULPTURE



Depictions of the human head in the early post-Paleolithic eras had religious functions, such as the depiction of the entire man, that is body with clothes.
Gradually in antiquity sculpture, besides being beautiful, also had decorative features, first recognized in temples, and after in residences of kings and powerful people, and even in bourgeois and popular houses. Â
From an evolutionary point of view, the human representations in sculpture increase greatly over time their typologies, ialso for the increase in world population.
The most of diffusion of the sculpture is found in toys and furniture.
Contemporary art, that of art exhibitions and museums of modern art, as from a typological point of view is decorative art, has strong expressive and psychological motivations.
The Paleolithic art covers a period of three millions of years with sculpture (three-dimensional art), while the paintings (two-dimensional art) start only 30 thousand years ago.
The post-Palaeolithic art began about 10 thousand years ago. However, in various regions of the world Paleolithic art continues for several millennia , but it evolves in different ways.
In Palaeolithic material used for the sculptures was stone, more rarely bone and ivory.
In Neolithic and age of Metals new materials were adopted,
new techniques for processing, and increase art to its functions were invented .
Among the new materials were pasted clay, clay mixed and cooked (ceramic), copper, bronze, gold and shortly after glass, i.e. molten sand.
Pottery was covered with painted anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, vegetal and geometric subjects and decorations.
In recent times greatly increased new materials and new uses, and the sacred representations of the many religions in the world continue , in parallel with new types of sculptures produced in large quantities. For their execution new materials are used , as many types of plastics, rubber, peluche, iron and aluminum.
With these new materials for art, toys and furnishings that are three-dimensional, and thus in the tradition of sculpture Paleolithic are made.
The tradition is closely linked to evolution, as the child will "evolve" in adult.
The tradition has a complex composition, whose components evolve separately and with different rhythms.
For example, many depictions of humans with animal heads, which we enjoy in toys and cartoons, are connected, as an image, to ancient divinities with human body and animal head, despite having a different function.
In scientific analysis of art, which includes also toys, it is necessary to consider that they are beautiful for children, as works of art of every time and with high prices are beautiful for adults. Furthermore, the current toys are designed by adults, often artists.
In the evolution of art, you should not consider the beauty for the high economic value.
We must only evaluate the components of the typology, regardless if we can appreciate a work of art more than another.

Fig. 4A1) Lithic sculpture. It represents a human head (but could be an artistic hybrid man-animal, perhaps a feline). The working technique comprises the sculpture for the shape of the head, and the engraving for the representation of eyes, nose and mouth. The style, that is the stylistic language of the art, fashionable in that time, invents this head completely (in an other book the sculpture is published upturned, in such case it does not have mouth, and it has a hat).
Size: " small ", in the art books it is diffuse habit not to indicate the size!
Origin: Eynan, Israel.
Material culture: Mesolithic.
In several consulted books, this sculpture brings the caption " small mask in basalt ". In our opinion, the attribution " mask " is improper for two reasons: 1) because the sculpture without doubt represents a divinity. 2) because it cannot be used.
Unknown collocation.


Fig. 4A2) Wooden sculpture (drawing). It represents a human head with body.
Size: we do not know them, but it is indicated small, cm. 12?
Origin: Volkerak, northern Brabant, Holland.
Material culture: Mesolithic.
Absolute dating: 4.450 years B.C.
Found in a turbary. In Middle East, in the same period, the art and the religion had made enormous progresses; so much that this beautiful sculpture, in comparison with them, appears to us primitive.
It is perhaps the most ancient wooden sculpture that we know of western Europe.
Unknown collocation


Fig. 4A3) Amber sculpture (drawing). It represents a human head with neck.
Size: smallest dimensions.
Origin: Northern Europe .
Material culture: Neolithic.
This sculpture comes from the same deposit in which a zoomorphic sculpture in amber (Fig. 7A2)has been found , and both are of typology similar to others of recent Acheulean and of Clactonian and Mousterian. Therefore, from the point of view of the artistic composition, and perhaps of the religion, at least for 250.000 years have not had progress.


Fig. 4A4) Sculpture in clay. Human head. The face is modeled on a human skull, the eyes are made of shells. Origin: Gerico, Palestine.
Absolute dating: 9.000 to 8,400 years ago.
These sculptures, made on skulls of the died relative, were buried in the pavement of the houses, generally separated from the rest of the skeleton.


Fig. 4A5) Sculpture in clay. Human head. The face is modeled on a skull of ancestors, and is painted red and white.
Origin: River Sepik, New Guinea. (see Fig. 4A4 and 4A6)


Fig. 4A6) Sculpture in clay. Human head. It is a skull trophy re-molded with clay and painted.
Origin: Salomone Islands.
Collocation: Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology of Florence, founded by Mantegazza in 1869, of which we cite a reflection: " The physiological analysis of the idea of the true is therefore so delicate and rough, than the obstinate study of many centuries has not still been enough to give to us a sure and incontrovertible definition of it". Paolo Mantegazza (1831 - 1910).


Fig. 4A7) Lithic sculpture. It represents a man armed of " dagger axe ". The stylistic deformation is of " geometric " type, and is a local aspect of a " fashion ", diffused also in southern France.
Size: mt. 1.20 approximately.
Origin: Lunigiana, Massa Carrara, Italy.
Material culture: age of the Metals (third millenium).
Lunigiana is a mountain zone at the borders between Liguria (La Spezia) and Tuscany (Massa Carrara). Here numerous " statues stele "they have been found, that are " idols " indeed, and are of two types: one male and armed, and the other female (Fig. 8A10). Theyr union, in this zone, relatively small, associates them inequivocably, also for the stylistic language of the sculptures.

Fig. 4A8) Sculpture in terracotta. It represents a man, perhaps a woman, because it has two small breasts, generally not present in male representations.
Size: small.
Origin: Japan
Attribution: "Style Jomon 1".
Around third millennium (before and after), in the world, an artistic language has been, that was not minded for imitation of the reality, but " invented" the figure. (see also Fig. 4A7 ).This sculpture, beyond several inventions that contains, is also full of irony.


Fig. 4A10 Wooden sculptures (Drawing). Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculptures with pointed hat.
Size: highest is cm. 85.
Origin: Sacred forest of the Mugi, Siberia.
Dating: they must not have beyond 200 years, that is they are very very recent.
They are ostiac divinities (sciaitàn). In our typology of the Paleolithic they represent (from right on the left): a man, a mammal with human vertical body, and a bird with human vertical body.


Fig. 4A12) Wooden sculptures (Drawing). They are four divinities contemporary near the same people. A man, a woman (for the breasts), and two artistic hybrids man-animal.
The head of the man is nearly in caricaturale style; the head of the woman is in geometric style, therefore there are different traditions, also in the style. (from " Round-the-world trip ", Venice, 1841).
Size: unknown.
Origin: Hawaii Islands.



Fig. 4A13) Group of 800 sculptures in steatite discovered in Nigeria in 1934. The sculptures represent mainly men, mostly sitting, with a variety of beautiful hats; but there are also sculptures of women and animals.
Size: from cm. 14 to mt.1.
Origin: Esie, province of Florin, Nigeria.
Age: approximately 1300 - 1500 A.D.
They have been found in a forest, and have been intentionally damaged, probably for religious reasons.



Fig.4A14) Wooden sculpture. It is a ritual mask strongly ironic, that has roots also in the Paleolithic, and intercontinental affinities, both for having an eye different from the other, and for the protrudente tongue. It could represent for half face a living, and for the other half the death.
Origin: Grisons, Suisse.
Dating: probably last two centuries.
Collocation: National Museum of Etnography, Munich, Germany.


Fig.4A15) Wooden sculpture. It is a strongly ironic ritual mask, that has roots also in the Paleolithic, and intercontinental affinities, for having an eye different from the other, which could represent for half face a living, and for the other half a death.
Origin: Grisons, Suisse.
Collocation:National museum of Etnography, Munich, Germany.



Fig. F1) Human head. Soft sculpture modeled from cloth, safety pins, paper and graphics. Abound one foot high. Artist: Licia Filingeri, 1976.Photo: Silvano Maggi, Milan, 1976. Invented imitation of the human head.

Fig. F2) Clown. A comical circus character. The style of this piece exaggerates the comical traits. Colored glass, 9 inches tall, Murano, Italy, 1960. Observe the expression of the face and the expressive hands, details that do not appear in the fetish doll in Figure .

Fig.F3) Ritual fertility doll. Painted wood sculpture, 15 inches tall. Equatorial Africa. Probably made between 1930 and 1950. It represents a woman since it has pointy breasts. Variations in the imitation of the human figure are many, and show geometric trends, neglecting to portray details such as hands and ears.

Fig.F 4) Knickknack. There is great creative fantasy in decorative knickknacks, as there is also in comics. It is always reflected in people's lifestyle. This representation of a small girl with a doll, in effect, shows a woman as a child, a kind of artistic hybrid. The variations in shape are evident, especially if we compare this piece to the clown (Figure 351). Porcelain, 9 inches tall, approximately 1975.

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