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First Impressions in Art The emergence of culture and civilization is a development uniquely credited to the human species The birth of civilization began with the actual creation of recorded symbols thus providing the means for the communication of ideas Some time between 30000 and 40000 thousand years ago modern humans began creating the first signs ever created on earth These signs were something other than simple traces of motor activities or the results and residues of instrumental tools They were marks left as signs carrying meaning for those who left them and for those of us who find them now These signs appeared in the Late Paleolithic or Early Neolithical area in relative abundance rather suddenly in great variety and reflecting great skill A remarkable number of signs and techniques for producing appeared almost simultaneously These include cave paintings figurines jewelry complex enigmatic signs and architecural beginnings The images were placed on stone bone antle r horn ivory clay in small portable sculpture and etching and most spectacularly as murals on the walls of rock shelters and deep in caves Human desire to depict the nature of their environment led to the first impressions of art The first identifiable works of art were jewelry The jewelry stage to the more permanent cave art stage spanned between 15000 and 20000 years Paleolithic artists evolvement from physical ornamentation to the development of art in more permanent places exhibited a startling act of lateral thinking Hughes 1995 The unfolding of their art that gave structure and meaning to their world is not unlike the contemporary definition of modern science Science the systematic knowledge of the physical or material world Websters 1996 p 1279 Paleolithic artists were using art to give meaning to and impart knowledge regarding the nature of their physical world to themselves and others Paleolithic artists used a variety of techniques that can generally be described as sculpture engraving and painting Leroi-Gourham 19801982 Although
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