Prehistoric Feminine Icons

In this blog post I’d like to take you with me on a recent visit to the special exhibition “Arts and Prehistory”* in the Museum of Mankind (Musée de l’Homme) in Paris.**

Like the Feminine Power in London exhibition I wrote about last year, this is another ode to human imagination and creativity in connection to the mystery of life.

The exhibition features women figurines and cave paintings from dating between 26.000-34.000 years old, and I wonder how these prehistoric icons can inspire us to look at female bodies today…

Continue reading “Prehistoric Feminine Icons”


carol-christIn an earlier blog, I suggested that women might have blown red ocher around their hands to leave their marks in prehistoric caves.

At the time I thought this was a rather bold suggestion.

Had I been asked why I thought the images were made by women, I might have said that people have understood caves to be the womb of the Great Mother, the Source of All Life, from time immemorial. I might have added that those who performed rituals in the caves cannot have been performing simple “hunting magic,” but must also have been thanking the Source of Life for making life possible for them and for the great beasts they hunted.  Still I am not certain that I imagined women as the artists in the Paleolithic caves.

handprint peche merle cave

In recent days the news wires have been carrying a story titled “First Cave Artists May Have Been Women, New Study Suggests.”   According to retired anthropological archaeologist Dean Snow, the handprints made by Paleolithic ancestors 40,000-20,000 years ago may have been made primarily by women. Snow spent a decade gathering and analyzing photographs of the handprints left in caves. The scientific fact that women’s first and ring fingers are generally of the same length, while men’s ring fingers are generally longer their index fingers, led him to the conclusion that ¾ of the handprints in the caves were made by women! If women were painting their hands on the caves in larger numbers than men, then isn’t likely that they were also painting the images of the great beasts on the walls of the caves? Continue reading “WOMEN ARTISTS AND RITUALISTS IN THE GREAT CAVES: THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF INDOLENT ASSUMPTIONS by Carol P. Christ”

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