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Art et religion de Chauvet à Lascaux
[Art and Religion from Chauvet to Lascaux]
2016, Paris : Gallimard
In this posthumous book, anthropologist Alain Testart examines the iconography of the decorated caves of the Paleolithic, particularly those of Lascaux (-18000) and Chauvet (-37000).
Analyzing the representations of animals and the abundant abstract signs as well as the spatial distribution of the works, he offers an unprecedented interpretation linked to a new theory of signs.
According to Testart, this art conforms to a canon which seems to refer to a totemic way of thinking. The iconography of the grottos thus evokes a hybrid humanity, not completely separate from the animal world. Humans are depicted, of course, but in a somewhat distorted way. It is through animals and a classifying of them into species, Alain Testart explains, that parietal art reveals a classification of humans.
Moreover, the omnipresence of symbols of femininity superimposed over images of animals lead one to think that the reproduction of the world was a central preoccupation of Paleolithic religion. A mirror of the mythical state of origins, the grotto could contain stages of a cosmogony.

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