viernes, 8 de marzo de 2019

The space and the cave, a walk through the time.

Time has been an obssesion for human being of all times. The stars, sun and moon positions were their clock, the animal's life cicle and nature events gave name to this periods of time,  the cave was the mirror of the deep and black sky, where they depicted their calendar. A walk throgh the cave is a walk throgh the time.

Decoding the calendar
There are very different tipes of cave art representations throughout the world and they are made in very different ages. I´m going to focus in european cave art, and in a concrete zone, the caves aroud Adour river, between the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Sea, and in a specific period of time, between 10.000 BP-17.000BP.
All the cave art has not a time motivation, and sometimes they have a very abstract or tribal meaning that it makes impossible to decode them, so this calendar is based on clear representations of periods of time, this simbols and the way they are depicted are repeated in different caves, so we can say there was a cultural coencidence in this area.
This calendar is based principally in two caves, Armintxe and Niaux, the first one has a scientific style,  the panel depicts a calendar with a very specific description, Niaux is more artistic, is a complete description but using an imaginative way.

After ordering the simbols, the result is this calendar. The horse depicts the moons of winter, the bison depicts the moons of spring, summer and Autumn, the deer or reindeer, subdivides the bison, using the size of their antlers. It is very common the use of incomplete animals to depict a season finishing or starting.

The year starts in the spring equinox with the thawing, and the solar year is depicted by the ibex, because of its horn growth rings that show each year. The ibex shows the relationship between the solar year, equinox and sosltices, and the moon cicles. The claviform simbols are posible full moon position simbols.



Armitxe describes the winter until the arrival of spring, spring equinox was the begining of the year.
1-The life and dead of the horse (winter), the lines from the dead horse become in two bisons (spring), the first not very clear and the second is more detailed, the four moons of winter  and the first moon of spring.
2- With the two bisons (spring), the thawing, starts the new year.
3- Each horse has an ibex on his head, except the first one, the ibex are the three steps of winter, they are dying, the first one wounded, the second with a cut in his kneck and the third one is not very defined. three solar steps for four moons of winter.
4- The four moons of winter, the last steps of the year, the arrival of spring and a new thawing (year)

1- The head of the horse, the simbol of the first moon of winter.
2- Second moon of winter.
3- Dead or incomplete horse, the last moon of winter.
4- Double horse or pregnant mare, the simbol of the fourth moon added to the winter of the second year, in a period of three years to be sincronized with the solar year. The next picture is a example and comparative with our nowadays calendar:

5,6,7- ibex, the steps of solar year.
8,9- Lions = time,  the cause of the death.
10,11- Two bisons in formation, spring.
12- Thawing- new year.
13- Solar claviforms, equinox.

More: Armintxe y las estrellas

Niaux completes the calendar, while near Cantabrian sea caves depict better the period from Autumn to spring, the winter, in the Pyrenees the summer has a major presence, the moons of bison are depicted with artistic details.

This pannel starts where finished in Armintxe:
1- Two bisons in formation, first moon of spring.
3- Mid sized antler deer, (Summer)
5- Bison with tail up, mating period, (Autumn)
7- Ibex, Autumn equinox

The figures, 2,4 and 6 are depicting the moon periods. the figure 8 is difficult to define,  it looks like a human faced bison.

When the bison faces left the moon is wanning and if the bison faces right is crescent,
2-A dark bison that faces left, showing a wanning phase,.
4- The bison faces left, but it has a projectile showing that wanning phase is finished, and we can see a dorsal line forming that faces right, is going to change to crescent moon, it is a new moon.
6- The bison faces right, is a crescent moon but it has two projectiles showing the full moon.

This panel connect with Armintxe's horse series and complete the calendar.
1,2- two bisons in Autumn changing to the black hair of winter.
3- A horse shape starts appearing, to see that winter is coming.
5- Ibex, solstice of winter.
4,6- The born of the horse, like Armintxe, the pregnant mare and the head of the horse.
7- A deer with its full antler of Autumn and the horse's head showing the begining of winter.

Near Armintxe is the cave of Lumentxa, this cave doesn´t have spectacular pictures, they are almost invisible surounded by modern graffities, the pictures are in a giant rock,  the small secondary entrance is faced east, and in the equinox, when the sun dawns from East, a small light enter in the cave to the painted rock position. The paintings are two bisons, a male and a female with the tail up, depicting autumn and a head of a horse that depicts winter is coming.

More: Lumentxa, el otoño.


Next to Armintxe and Lumentxa is the cave of Atxurra, in this cave we can see a not common headless bison (bf), it is not complete, meanig the final of bison or Autumn, it has more than twenty projectiles, showing the days of the last moon of Autumn, after the bison, a head of a horse (H1), first moon of winter, and a complete horse (H2).


Ekain represents the same period of Armintxe, the winter and the arrival of spring, but the main panel of Ekain is focused on the last full moon, and shows the change of season from winter to spring coinciding with a total lunar eclipse.

W1- Horse head, winter starting.
W2 - Horse without head or incomplete horse, shows the last lunar cicle of winter
seq- Ibex of spring equinox
LC1 and LC2 - crescent moon and full moon, shows the lunar phases until complete the full moon.
e1, e2, e3 and e4- as me can see below, description of eclipse phases.
E1 and E2 - new moon and full moon of the eclipse.

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S1, S2 and S3- the bison forming, arrival of spring, there are four bisons,  we can´t see the first bison because is a engraving, some lines of the second, only the shape of the third, and the finally the fourth, red painted coinciding with the eclipse.

Wf- the shape of the horse, is disappearing. Final of winter.
E1- The lunar red horse has a black line on his belly showing the waning phase, and 14 small lines showing the 14 days of crescent phase until the full moon of the eclipse.


h- headless horse, the last moon cicle of winter.
b- bison, spring, summer and autumn.
sc- solar claviform, equinox of spring.
I- ibex, equinox or year starting.


The tooth of a sperm whale has two ibex engraved, the ibex depicts the solar year and its relationship with moon cicles.
S- the seasons, solstices and equinox. three moon cicles each one.
E- equinox, 6 moon cicles each one.


Another animal used to name periods of time is the salmon, in this small engraving we can see groups of two lines and above the lines , groups of 7 lines of dots,  as we can see in other caves like Niaux, they use the fourteen days of crescent or wanning, in 2 groups of seven. In this salmon are depicted the weeks. From spring to summer the days are longer like the dots lines.


The engraving on the stick is damaged and there is a part that is not visible, but looking at the reinders, we can see part of the antlers of the second one and they are smaller than the last one.
r1- spring?
r2- summer
r3- autumn
s1, s2, s3- salmons going up the river (spring, summer)
st- salmon turning back, (first moon of autumn)
sd1, sd2- salmons going down the river (autumn), r3 tuns its antlers to change the sense of the timeline.

The journey of the salmon could be a description of the human movements.

Sorry for my english writing mistakes.

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