Saturday, September 8, 2018


View of Drinking Reindeer in Les Combarelles,, public domain.

I LOVE this one. Carved into the grotto of Les Combarelles, in Les Eyzies de Tayac, Dordogne, France. It was officially discovered by pre-historians Denis Peyrony, Abbe Breull, and Louis Capitan in September, 1901 (although it had been used as a stable by local peasants for years).(Wikipedia) The engraved "Drinking Reindeer" reaches and delicately extends his tongue to lap at water that once seeped from a crack in the wall of the cave.

Drawing of Drinking Reindeer,
Les Combarelles. Peter Faris.

"The long corridor of Les Combarelles extends for 240 m (790 ft) into the heart of the rock - with most of the art only appearing more than 160 m (525 ft) from the entrance - and 14,000 to 12,000 years ago during the late Magdalenian times much of it would have been accessed on hands and knees, or lying flat along the narrowest sections (today the floor level has been deepened, enlarging the height from floor to ceiling to allow easier access for tourists). Although some of the artworks can be clearly seen, such as the reindeer with lowered head drinking water that once emanated from a crack in the rock, the only way of finding much of the more than 600 artworks would have been to carefully look on the walls, oil lamp in hand, one person at a time and face almost pressed against the rock in the narrow space." (David 2017: 181-2)

Drinking Reindeer in Les Combarelles, public domain.

Students of rock art love to identify examples of incorporation of natural features into the images, has another example of incorporation ever been so beautifully done? If the measure of art is the emotional response it elicits from the viewer, this is great art - primitive man, who's kidding who?

NOTE: Some images in this posting were retrieved from the internet with a search for public domain photographs. If any of these images are not intended to be public domain, I apologize, and will happily provide the picture credits if the owner will contact me with them. For further information on these reports you should read the originals at the sites listed below.


David, Bruno
2017 Cave Art, Thames and Hudson, London.

Hitchcock, Don
2015 Combarelles,


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