Ice Age Therianthropes
17 x 11 x 11 inches
Synthetic clay, texture gel, Strathmore 400 drawing paper, glue, acrylic paint
Therianthropes are mythological beings, humans that have the ability to shape shift into animals. The lion person on the right of the piece is based on a statue found in Germany estimated to be 32,000–40,000 years old and currently the oldest known uncontested piece of figurative art. There is disagreement as to whether the original lion person figure is male or female. Interestingly, the leading male expert has determined that the figure is male and the leading female expert has determined that it’s female. Personally, after my study of the photographs of the piece, I’m leaning toward the minority opinion that the lion person was intended to be female.
The other figures in the piece are based on cave wall drawings in France. The bird man, along with his bird companion on a stick, is dated at around 17,300 years ago. The bird man was most likely intended to be laying down in the original drawing, perhaps dead or in a shamanic trance. I stood him up for design purposes.
The deer etc. man is dated at around 13,000 years ago.
The original drawing of the figure was particularly well thought out. For example, there appears to be light and shade on the beard, delineating its shape very precisely. The 3-dimensionality of the figure was so well rendered that I had very little extrapolation to do, I would not be surprised if the artist who drew him was also a sculptor. The people in the Ice Age were much more sophisticated than we seem to want to think.