Why would prehistoric humans decorate an object?
The best reason I can come up with is to give the object a special meaning. In the textbook, “Art History” by Marilyn Stokstad and Michael Cothern, it shows a picture of a tomb in Newgrange, Ireland that has engraved stones (page 17). I have looked up the meaning of this symbol on Google and found a few websites that say the symbol, a triskele, symbolizes eternal life, the flow of nature, and spiritual growth. It was on that tomb to show how life ebbs,flows, and ends. It was also used to document past events that the person or someone else experienced,
I would give an educated guess that they did it for their religions. Prehistoric humans didn’t really have any laid out rules or religious doctrines, they saw nature as the almighty power in the world. So I think that they decorated them to appease nature, and in their minds they were appeasing the next rain storm or earthquake, etc.
Prehistoric humans would decorate objects in order to convey a message or a story, usually with a meaning behind it. Another reason for them to decorate objects would be for them to be able to give religious or devotional information.
My thought would be that it’s the same reason why we decorate things in this day in age, to express ourselves or too communicate an idea.
I belive that prehistoric humans would decorate objects to either give them significance or to illustrate what makes that object significant. also they could have done it as a way of keeping tack of important events or experiences.
I watched a very interesting special a couple months ago on a temple that was recently unearthed in Turkey that was dated all the way back to the hunter gatherer era. Previously, most scholars thought that religion (even polytheist religion), was far too advanced a concept for hunter gatherer societies to understand, or for that matter, have time for. However, in the temple there were several drawings and frescoes on the walls of what appeared to be an entire pantheon of gods that no one had noticed, or even heard of before, but seemed to be, by all indications, this civilization’s pantheon of gods. So perhaps that objects were decorated by prehistoric humans to depict the realm and/or beings of spirituality, beings and realms greater than themselves.
Humans could decorate an object for a multitude of reasons. They could decorate to worship a spiritual figure, someone that they idolize or something that they wish to commemorate. Decorating an object would allow for the artist to have something that was important to them presented in a way that could last for many years to come. Objects could also be decorated to have as a trinket to keep on a person throughout the day.
I looked up decorated prehistoric art on Google and found how unique every piece of art was. Each with a different style and decoration that gave symbolism to the objects. Perhaps decorations were a way to give a unique signature to the artist, just like in modern day art, paintings and objects have unique styles which gave the artist their signature.
To me it seems logical, and telling no matter the time period. It can be boiled down in my opinion to aesthetic intent. It follows the same rationale as to why some people like to bedazzle their belongings, it gives an aesthetic appeal that they like to something that could be considered bland or boring. To be put simply you could just say that it makes it more appealing. I believe that is an innate human tendency, to tweak or change certain things more to our liking if we have the means to do so. In this instance decorating an object is within reach, so why wouldn’t they decorate an object?
I think prehistoric humans decorated objects to give them more value and meaning. These decorations could symbolize a variety of things. For instance a decorated object could depict a fond memory or a tragic experience. Utilizing the ability to decorate an object allows it to be unique to the artist and hold more meaning then the base would.
The first thing that comes to my mind is to possibly bring some color to their lives. They didn’the have all the colors and gadgets we have today so they had a lot of extra free time while they weren’t busy scavenging and living on the brink of death. I feel also that it givespecially then a sense of purpose. Purpose to show the children how to find the beauty in the world that is so dangerous; a sense of calming if you will.
This is an interesting question that has many possibilities with countless variations and variables. One reasoning that I believe prehistoric humans would have to decorate an object would be as a symbol of respect. For example if a cave wall or even a trinket was decorated it might be have a strong correlation with the people of that time honoring or paying their dues to the item, creature, or being. Another possibility would be out interpretation of decor or an objects decoration could be a means of storytelling or communication that was used at a moment in time.
Decorating every day objects such as tools, weapons, or even living spaces may signify dominance and power within the tribe. “Showing off” their intellectual creativity and artistic ability is not only aesthetically pleasing, but impressive to others, and shows a talent that other tribesmen/women may not have. It may show dominance over others who may only be good at one particular skill, like hunting, while an individual with decorative items shows craftmanship as well as hunting/working skills.
Why would prehistoric humans decorate an object?
Simple – Data Storage.
Seems rather strange for a prehistroic people to be concerend with data storage. But what else would they have had? If we take the term “prehistoric”, and really think about it, we’re depicting a subset of people who probably didn’t have written language. They probably only had a rudimentary verbal language, if they had one at all.
How could prehistoric people store and transmit data? By carving it into something static, something tangible. If I am a prehistoric human and want to record what a bison looks like, I can’t write it down. So I carve into a rock what I see. I can transmit that data to other humans, who can perceive that information via sensory perception. They can see it. They can touch it and observe it. I don’t have to tell them about it if we don’t have a spoken language.
When I carve it into a rock, it stays there. Its stored. Other people can see it. They can look at that data, then transform it into information. They can understand how a bison looks. They can postulate how to kill it for food.
Prehistoric people decorated objects to store data, in an effort to transmit information to other people.
Though anything we could say as to why prehistoric people world want to decorate an object is speculation I don’t believe it is too far fetched to follow the line of thinking that they observed their world and could have taken in that beauty in nature is often related to danger or strength. In class we saw what is probably an atalatl that was highly ornate. It would make since that early people decorated objects and tools with the hope of empowering the object in someway.
Humans are visual creatures: it’s often our strongest sense with which we used to identify patterns and recognize other animals (including humans). At the base level, these skills are necessary for human survival in the wilderness. Being able to identify animals for the sake of personal safety, food, clothing, etc. is vital. So, for instance, the vasts caves found in France and Spain have a plethora of paintings littering the cave walls. These paintings include species of horses, deer, rhinos, bison, mountain lions, and humans hunting these animals. While it is entirely possible that later cave paintings and other art forms were created for the sake of personal and artistic achievement, I agree with the textbooks that more likely the paintings began as “tools” (p.3) for the sake of teaching children about these animals and practices or visual association (lions = dangerous, deer = food, man with lion head = shaman).
I believe prehistoric people decorated objects as a way of expressing themselves. Just as today artists and other people decorate, doodle, sculpt, or conduct any other form of art are expressing themselves and being creative so were the prehistoric people. They also could have decorated things as a means of separation; whether it be between classes or to show power or it could have been just to differentiate between different items in order to keep track of them.
I feel like prehistoric people started decorating objects as just a way to keep their hands busy at first, doing stuff like carving patterns or adding colors to their tools when they were bored. I think from there, “art” developed as they began assigning importance to these decorations and valuing the skill of being able to decorate their possessions.
I believe prehistoric people created decorated objects as a means to pass time, tell stories, and to establish tradition. These objects were most likely cherished and only used for special purposes such as explaining a story or to pass down as a gift. The decoration of object showed skill, which groups could take pride in.
Undoubtedly prehistoric humans used written/drawn record as their predecessors did: to record history/events, to decorate, to tell a story, to display a picture of something, perhaps even some for the mere purpose of creating art.
The way I see prehistoric humans is not as being any more deficient in cognitive capability than we are today. Over time the human race has grown simply due to our ability to communicate previously learned information. However, some things are constant, such as the need to eat, take shelter, or wear clothing. These things have grown to take different shapes over time but the reasons as to why humans participate in these necessities of life haven’t changed. Simply put, ancient humans much like modern humans most likely decorated art for it’s aesthetic value and scarcity of talent.
In my opinion, I believe that the prehistoric humans decorated objects for mulitpule reasons: story telling, records, and decorative additions to their life. Story telling and records go hand in hand, and they both are the obvious ones. Humans always have told stories of their actions or tales of the past. These decorations may be aides in telling the story and recording it for future story tellers. The last one is something I personally do. Imagine being bored in a physics class, a typical student would doodle or draw a little design of some sort in the corner of his college ruled notebook. Maybe this is what the prehistoric humans were doing. They were bored, and they decided to decorate the cave walls or carve an elaborate spear.
I believe humans decorated objects because it was another way for them to talk to another about something significant. It allowed for other tribes to communicate through decoration and all symbols, because if you think about it there are symbols today that most people know what it means just by looking at them. So I believe that prehistoric people could use the same thought process we have been using these past hundred years to communicate. Also it could have been a way to express beauty without using words. This is why I believe that prehistoric humans decorated objects.
There are a few reasons for why early man decorated sculpture, the first is having to do with just detailing what they saw and copying it down as best they could. The second would be to add spiritual meaning or importance to an object, writing symbols that would protect them from spirits or help them communicate with the spirit world perhaps. The third has do with recording data. On numerous objects found from the period of early man, many appear to have markings symbolizing a recorded amount of something specific. One of the likely things recorded in this way is the amount of animals one hunter had killed as a way to show off as well as keep track of stockpiles of food for colder months. Finally, they might have just thought it would be cool to decorate the objects or were bored and just fiddled away. It is a really boring answer but many artists over human history have just doodled or fidgeted with sculpture and many have also added minute details because they thought it was ascetically pleasing. We even see it today in classrooms across America. Who knows maybe in 5,000- 8,000 years we might have notebooks filled with some bored students doodles in the Metropolitan museum of art and wonder the same things we do about early man.
I would think that these prehistoric humans would form some kind of deity they could worship and decorating the object would be seen as an honoring of that higher being, in other words, they created their own religion and the object in question maybe was their representation of that being.
Prehistoric humans would decorate objects to tell a story; to either commemorate a certain event or to communicate what happened during an event to other people. They would also decorate objects to depict the world around them; for either aesthetic purposes or for teaching purposes. They may have also depicted something because it was important to them. For instance, many prehistoric humans depicted bulls because they were a significant factor in their survival and they may have wanted to pay tribute, or express gratitude in a way, to the bulls. Another reason they may have decorated objects is to simply pass time.
My would assume they would decorate it for significance, to give an object a lifelike outside. It’ll provide color and vibrance. It could bring meaning to the object, and if it’s an object that they kept in their home then it could symbolize their family and their love for their family. It’s the same reason why children decorate things, to make them prettier, appealing, something that people will look at and think that it’s beautiful. Significance is the biggest part that plays a role in them decorating an object.
I think that prehistoric humans decorated objects for a few reasons. First, it was a way to express themselves. It would allow them to show how they were in that state in time. It also could have a been a way to add value to objects and make them seem more important.
I think prehistoric humans decorated objects to send messages to the people who see the objects. They also could have decorated the objects to represent something from their beliefs.
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