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European Paleolithic Art Explanations.doc

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McGill University
ANTH 201
Michael Bisson

ANTHRO 201A The following lists some of the proposed explanations of European Paleolithic artNone of these hypotheses covers all cases but some are more probable than others They are listed in historical order1Art for Arts Sake This notion that cave paintings were primarily decorative is contradicted by the fact that many paintings were located in inaccessible parts of caves and in some cases appear to have been visited only once simply decorative 2Sympathetic Hunting Magic associated w Henry BrodeBroid This hypothesis is that animals were depicted in order to capture their souls and symbolically kill them ensuring success in huntingThe problem is that only c 10 of painted animals are shown pierced by spears and in many sites the paintings were of animals not normally eatenvery few images affirm this theoryanimals that were depicted to be hunted did not actually live in that area at the timemany horses painted but horses did not even live in the areathey knew of horses 3Sympathetic Fertility Magic In this view animals and humans are depicted pregnant to encourage their reproductionThe problem is that few of the animals d
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