Cave in southern France, discovered in 1887, containing murals from the Aurignacian Period. On its clay walls and ceiling are finger tracings and engraved pictures of wild horses, bison, and mammoths cut into the rock with a sharp tool. They may have functioned as magical images related to hunting and animal fertility. The most distinctive feature is the numerous human hand silhouettes painted in red and black, both as “negative” prints (made by paint blown around and between the fingers while the hand is pressed against the wall) and as “positive” prints (made by hands dipped in paint). The oldest form of painting known (dating to c. 30,000 BC), hand silhouettes are widespread in the art of hunter-and-gatherer societies worldwide.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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