It seems to be impossible to escape the Ice Age Art exhibition!
A couple of weeks ago, before the start of the summer holidays, I was making thaumatropes* with a group of children, when I remembered the prehistoric example I’d seen at the British Museum exhibition.
Found in Mas d’Azil Cave, this bone disk with its central perforation depicts a female aurochs and a calf. In the exhibition catalogue, Jill Cook says:
“The adult is twice the size of the calf and their similarity is emphasized by the same short, oblique lines used as shading on the shoulders and chests of both animals that would undoubtedly help them to merge if twirled round.”
Apologies to Jill, but I couldn’t just take her at her word, I had to find out for myself:
Click on the image to go to the Vimeo movie.
The best way to see the calf merge with the adult is to make one yourself. Try using this template:
The same site also produced a broken thaumatrope, showing a human having a nasty encounter with a cave bear (watch out for those claws).
The Heritage Trust blog features this Ice Age thaumatrope, as well as other ancient animations. Especially interesting is Marc Azema and Florent Rivere’s argument that cave paintings and carvings came to life in the light of a flickering torch:
As is this Ice Age excitement wasn’t enough, coming very soon to this blog is a interview with Song Hunter author Sally Prue.
Watch this space!!!
* Translated as turning marvel or wonder turner, these are disks with two separate images on either side of a disk, that merge to form one picture when you spin them.