Why religious beliefs are now considered the basis of origins of Palaeolithic art

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Washington, March 27 (ANI): A new research has revealed why religious beliefs are now considered the basis of the origins of Palaeolithic art.

For years, anthropologists, archaeologists and historians of art understood these artistic manifestations as purely aesthetic and decorative motives.

Eduardo Palacio-Perez, researcher at the University of Cantabria (UC), has now revealed the origins of a theory that remains nowadays/lasts into our days.

"This theory does not originate with the prehistorians, in other words, those who started to develop the idea that the art of primitive peoples was linked with beliefs of a symbolic-religious nature were the anthropologists," said Palacio-Perez, author of the study and researcher at UC.

This idea appeared at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

Up until then, Palaeolithic art had been interpreted as a simple aesthetic and decorative expression.

"Initially, scientists saw this art as the way that the people of the Palaeolithic spent their free time, sculpting figurines or decorating their tools," Palacio pointed out.

His investigation has revealed the reasons for the move from this recreational-decorative interpretation of Palaeolithic art to different one of a religious and symbolic nature.

Palaeolithic art is composed of so-called mobiliary art - pieces of stone, horn and bone sculpted or engraved - that are included within archaeological deposits.

These discoveries, which spread through the scientific community from 1864, are dated to the same period as the rest of the archaeological material and there was "practically no doubt about their Palaeolithic origin".

Between 1880 and 1900, the conception of art changed in western society.

Anthropologists, archaeologists and historians of Art started to consider other possibilities than the Palaeolithic origin of art.

Artistic theory and practice that was being made in Europe changed with postimpressionism, the appearance of Art Nouveau or the generalisation of photography; in addition, with the mass arrival to museums of the metropolis of artistic pieces from non-Greco-Latin cultures and "primitive arts" of the colonies.

"All this produced a transformation in the concept of art itself", pointed out Palacio.

"At this time, the conception of the origins and the nature of art that the westerners and scientists had at the time was redefined. From then on, Palaeolithic art was reinterpreted in a ymbolic-religious key, at the time when the age of parietal art was accepted", concluded the researcher. (ANI)

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