These sculptures were originally commissioned by the British Museum in London for the 2013 exhibition 'Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind'. The sculptures - in bronze and plaster - are of limited editions of 100 and 250 respectively.
Found in 1894, this beautiful portrait head of a woman is justifiably one of the most famous works of Ice Age art. Made from the core of ivory from a mammoth tusk it is an accomplished piece of sculpture. Scraped and polished in outline, the eyebrows, nose and chin are carved in relief and the pupils in the eyes are marked by little holes. The hairstyle has been created by incised horizontal and vertical lines which form a pattern of squares. This is perhaps indicative of braiding although when the figure was first discovered it was thought to be a decorative hood giving rise to the title 'Dame à la capuche'. The head is sometimes shown on a body reconstructed from a number of broken fragments but actually appears to be a complete work.
To shape an entire bison from the palmate section of a reindeer antler the sculptor has ingeniously shown the animal turning to lick its side. The head and neck are formed in low relief against the body. Their exquisite details bring the figure to life. The sculpture may have been part of a spear thrower.
Many of the sculptures of animals in Ice Age art are depicted in still positions. The Crouching Lion from Pavlov I is a fine exception. Discovered in 1952 close to the Upper Palaeolithic archaeological site near the village of Dolní Věstonice, Moravia in the Czech Republic, this sculpture carved from mammoth ivory depicts a lion in motion; crouching or, more likely, leaping. Also known as the Pavlov Lion, it was discovered in a pile of bones next to a wolf skull and just metres from a hearth. Most of the lion’s outline has been cut and rounded, but parts have been left unworked.
This standing human figure with a lion’s head is sculpted from mammoth ivory. It was found in many pieces and parts of the front of the body are missing. The stance and muscularity of the shoulders suggest a man standing on tip toes with arms to his sides.
The left upper arm is marked with incisions which might represent tattoos or scarring. The head faces forward in an alert stare emphasised by a powerful jaw line and upright ears. Is this a man wearing a lion headdress, or is it a mythical or supernatural being?
This carving is the oldest known sculpture of a horse. Sculpted from mammoth ivory it is part of an originally more rounded representation with longer legs and tail. The head is complete and shows the engraved mouth, nostrils and eyes. The ears are alert and the neck arched. The mane, back and sides are marked with crossed diagonal incisions. Is this a stallion trying to impress a mare or a horse arching and kicking backwards against a predator?
Carved from mammoth ivory, this sculpture is one of the taller female figurines of Ice Age art. Found beside an excavated camp fire near the top of the deposits in the Cave of Rideaux, the figure was damaged on the front by a blow from a pickaxe and is reconstructed in this sculpture. The lozenge shaped outline of the figure encompasses a small round head with no face. The neck and shoulders are well defined and thin arms bend round to rest above the large pendulous breasts which cover a slight but prominent stomach and rest against huge buttocks. The thighs are large and curve into the knees below which the lower legs are vestigial. On the back, engraved vertical lines hang from a horizontal line below the buttocks, which may represent an apron.
The characteristics of the Lespugue figurine have been interpreted as indicative of obesity and or pregnancy by those who wish to see the sculpture as a realistic representation. However, should we only be looking for realism or, is this an intellectual image in which the mind’s eye has emphasised the meaningful aspects of this woman’s body? Is this a reflection on the origins and nourishment of life rather than simply the female form?
Originally carved out of amphibolite 32,000 years ago, and measuring 7.2 cms in height, this exquisite piece has now been cast in solid bronze, in a limited edition of 100. The bronze 'dancing' figurine of Galgenburg stands on a black metal pin set in a wooden base. [Overall height 15cms].
One of the oldest human sculptures in the world, this figure of a nude woman dancing was found broken in eight pieces near a camp fire on an open air site. Made with great skill and artistry from an attractive pebble of blackish green amphibolite the figure is worked in relief on the front and is flat on the back. The right arm is held above the head and her breast hangs beneath. The left arm curves out from the body, shoulder slightly forward, hand resting on the thigh of the left leg which also curves outwards, knee slightly bent. The head is poised, slightly square and lacking a face. The pose suggests movement in a dance and the figurine is often called ‘Fanny’ after one of Austria’s prima ballerinas. Such movement is exceptional among early human sculptures which more often have an immobile stance. Was she enjoying herself or participating in a ritual celebration?$99