Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: hands in rock art

hands in rock art


Do you recall my handprints? As you know, they were inspired by many rock art hand paintings from around the world, such as those in Borneo. Well, I've just been peeking into the Bradshaw Foundation pages to see what's new, and lo! there's a new gallery of hand paintings in rock art. Aren't they gorgeous and very mysterious?

Image: Argentinian hand paintings, Bradshaw Foundation

Marja-Leena | 23/03/2007 | 21 comments
themes: Printmaking, Rock Art & Archaeology


They are beautiful and moving in a very direct human way. What an exquisite collection. I have never got over seeing, as a child, an antler used as a mining tool left lying in a newly-opened tunnel in a neolithic site near here. Dropped at the end of a shift 5,000 years ago. A striking physical connection with our ancestors.

Thanks for the link to these. They look so now! I'm intrigued by the layers and the difference between lighter and darker hands. A fascinating puzzle as to what it all meant, and whether it was the same for all those peoples.

These are incredible! So eloquent and present, it's both exciting and frightening to see them.

These are wonderful. Thanks for the link. They connect in a very roundabout way with the link to cup and ring marks in my recent
"Blawearie" post.

Wow~! It looks like an extreme close-up of newt skin, or some such mottle-hided amphibian, deep in the dapple, light reflecting off of the creatures bright interior through pebbled clouds of pigment. Densely packed yet capacious, pigment shadows of flesh on stone evoke an animal camouflage evocation of stone. Stone imitating stone, by way of two fleshes.

Aren't they just?
Amazing how universal these hand prints were, but this one is something special.

Thank you to all of you for your enthusiastic responses! I often wish I lived closer to these ancient neolithic sites, like Anna and Mr. Zip. There's something very compelling about such ancient human marks; perhaps it's the time-spanning connection between artists of ancient past and our shaky present.

The dead, sublime.

Tall Girl - YES! You said it - "the dead, waving"! Yes, yes, wow!

Great images, good comments.

Dave - glad you think so!

I love that there are so many of them, not just one. It looks like a party!

Leslee - yeah, a party... or a 'rock' concert!

They scared me on first sight. Horrific images flew through my mind. Now they do fascinate me. I think 'The dead, waving', is an excellent way of describing this.

Hi Anne-Mieke! I think I understand what you mean, because at first glance I thought they looked almost like a raging flock of birds. Like from that Hitchcock movie, have you seen it?

Marja-leena: the images moved me. It's amazing how humans left their mark in such similar ways all over the world. And then again, we are the only animal with hands rather than paws, except other apes, of course.
Thanks for sharing!

Hi Jackie! It's been a long time - how are you? Yes, the similarity is truly striking and amazing. Glad you found this moving, as I did.

I haven't even been visiting the usual blog-friends much lately. I've just been absorbed by work at work, and artwork at home. It's comforting to come to your blog, and see the seasons marching on much the same way they are down here, just a bit farther south. I love the sound of the spring peepers...
Happy Spring!

Jackie, thanks for the spring wishes - same to you! I've enjoyed getting out in the garden the past two days. And it sounds like you are keeping out of trouble with both work work and art work - good for you! I like what you are doing right now.

This is stunning! And scarey too.
It's as if the hands are coming out at you from the rock

Mouse, it's amazing, isn't it!? They've probably enhanced the photo to make it really stand out, but still.. it's quite powerful. Thanaks for dropping by.