The Shards of history of art: First trip to Lascaux
I took my bag, ate crunchy bread in a hurry and turned my time machine on. For a long time I was wondering if our ancestors would be able to answer many of my questions about arts. I decided that today was the day to reveal the secret of the Cave Paintings.
Wish me luck with my translating and camouflage device.
My first trip was to Montignac in France, around 14000 B.C. If I am not mistaken I should be walking around 25-30 minutes to get to Lascaux, one of the most famous places with cave paintings in the world.
As I was walking I could admire beautiful nature and coloured landscapes covered with small layer of snow. I was sneaking quiet, so even some animals, like deers and wild horses showed them. I couldn't wait to see some mammoths but I didn't have my lucky day it seems.
Finally I came to the target destination. I could see few people near the cave, mostly women. Some of them were collecting half frozen berries and some were cooking herbs on the camp fire in the bony pot.
They were not looking very friendly, but I decided I should get closer. I took my all my courage, and laid myself in the hands of destiny:
"Hi." (Thats the only thing I could come up with at this moment.)
They answered multi-voice, "Hey. You shouldn't be here. We don't like others,“
"I didn't come to harm you. I just want to know more about your life and specificly about the paintings in your cave."
One of the women, I was guessing she was the leader , came closer to me and looked at me suspiciously:
"We don't have time to talk. We have to work. But we Will take you to the cave if you have something for us. Something valuable for our tribe."
First of all, I didn't want to make damages to the past. So I could not give them something which would change the events in history, I decided to give them my matches, which I always have in my pocket. I gave an explanation that they are limited and how carefully and with conscience they should be used. This was enough to earn my passage.
The "leader" took me to the caves. There were only two men inside, the rest was out hunting I was told.
One of the men was making colours from berries, clay, charcoal and some minerals. The other one was painting with a primitive brush from animal skin and hair. Because they were so focused on their work, they didn't notice me comming in at all.
I could quietly look at all the beauty. You could see paintings which looked much older, but there were not too many of them. I guess my timing perfect.
"Ehmm, hmm, " I said trying to not scare them.
They threw a glance at me and waited for me to continue.
"I came here to know more about this cave and all the art you are making on its walls."
"Art?" The painter asked strangely. „What does that mean?“
"Yes, art, you know the paintings." I answered with weaker voice.
"We don't know what your art is. But this is our plan and this is our message. When we came here, some of these paintings were already here. They are helping us with our rituals, to protect us during hunting. They're here also for our children and their children."
I was listening and watching him when he switched from brush to some other tool and started to engrave. And then I realised that he was actually shadowing his painting. I needed to ask, why is he doing that.
"Because that's how you see." He replied evenly.
I never believed that I could see the detailed lines and the freshness of the colours before it would be covered by a coating from the years passing.
Also, I noticed that there were some pictures which didn't make any sense or they were looking too similar to future times they could not know.
I carefully asked how they came to this, and they answered:
"Go to our Shaman, he will tell you more."
Seemed like it was time to leave the amenity. I looked around to find the Shaman and it was really not hard to find him. The guy with strange outfit in contrast to the others. He looked like he was under unfluience of some drugs. Therefore I decided to take him with reserve.
Most of the time he was just babbling about nothing. But one sentence was engraved into my memory:
"Go to Tassili and you will understand much more."
So I already know where my next trip to see cave paintings and untie the mystery will go. I made a short goodbye to my friends and went back to my time with the hope that in 12 000 years they will not find remains of matches in Lascaux.