We all are aware of cave paintings. The amazing paintings gave us a clear view of how our ancestors live in tens of thousands of years ago. These paintings depict the different hunting techniques, their way of life, and their beliefs. Here is a list of some beautiful cave paintings around the world.
Lascaux Cave Paintings, South-western France
Lascaux cave paintings are globally popular and it’s a world heritage site. The paintings are of Paleolithic period. The cave contains more than 2000 paintings and these were 20,000 years old. The paintings illustrate human figures, animals and abstract signs. At the cave complex, there are a number of sections including the shaft of the dead man, painted gallery, the great hall of bulls, chamber of engravings, lateral passage and chamber of felines.
The most popular section is the great hall of bulls which represent four black bulls. The painting of 17 feet long black bulls is the largest animal figure ever discovered in any cave. But Lascaux paintings have been permanently closed to the public due to the damage as too many people visiting the cave. So, the French government built Lascaux II where people can see a copy of the original paintings.
Altamira Cave, Northern Spain
This is the best preserved cave paintings in the world as the inner walls of the cave are safe from the damage of climate change. The cave was discovered in the late 19th century and it was the first cave in which the paintings of the Palaeolithic period were discovered. The paintings are so brilliant that at first many people even scientific society had questioned how the prehistoric man could create such artistic expression and accused the discoverer of the cave paintings Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola. In 1902, the paintings were acknowledged as genuine.
The paintings represent charcoal and ochre images of bison, horses, other wild mammals and handprints. Many mysterious signs were also discovered on the wall of Altamira cave. However, the paintings are the excellent evidence of Magdalénian culture (between 16,500 and 14,000 years ago).
Chauvet Cave, France
This one is also one of the best preserved cave paintings in the world. Most of the paintings date back to 30,000 and 32,000 years ago during the Aurignacian period. The cave wall has more than 1,000 images of last stone age (between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago).
The paintings represent various animals like cave lions, panthers, mammoths, bears and cave hyenas. Some rare ice age animals also featured on the wall of Chauvet cave. Other than the paintings the cave also contains fossilised remains and other human evidence.
Magura Cave, Bulgaria
Magura cave is one of the largest caves in Bulgaria. The paintings date back to Neolithic and early Bronze Age period, 8000 to 4000 years ago. The paintings feature hunting techniques, different animals, dancing people, deities, sun, stars, plants and instrument of labour. Not only that, the cave wall also has a solar calendar that represents 366 days and five different festivals. It is probably the oldest solar calendar discovered in the Europe. The cave also has some geological formations including stalactites, stalagmites and cave pearls.
More than 700 drawings have been discovered on the cave walls and they were painted with bat guano (bat excrement).
Kakadu Rock Paintings, Australia
The Kakadu national park contains thousands of aboriginal sites including rock arts, rock shelters and stone tools. The rock arts represent the earliest human civilisation date back to more than 40,000 years ago. The paintings feature ritual ceremonies, hunting and social life of the people of the different period of time. Almost 5000 art sites have been discovered so far. The oldest rock painting in Kakadu national park dated back 20,000 years.
Tasmanian tiger, goanna, mullet, catfish and snake-necked turtles are illustrated on the wall. Ubirr, Nanguluwur and Nourlangie rock are the most popular art sites in the national park.
Cueva de las Manos, Argentina
Cueva de las Manos or the Cave of the hands got its name from the stencilled outlines of human hands. The painting of hands dates between 9,000 and 13,000 years ago. The paintings are created by the ancestors of the Patagonia region in Argentina. Beside those hands, there are the paintings of animals, hunting, geometric shapes and zigzag patterns. Most of the hands are left hands so it is suggested that the painters held a spraying pipe with their right hand. The painters probably used natural mineral pigments like kaolin, manganese oxide and iron oxide for making colours.
Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh
It contains more than 600 rock shelters decorated with prehistoric cave paintings. Some of the rock paintings considered to be 30000 years old. The paintings are mostly in red and white colour with the occasional use of green and yellow. The paintings depict the lives of the people who lived in the caves. Tigers, bisons, elephants, rhinos, lions and crocodiles have also illustrated in the caves.
Serra da Capivara, Brazil
The cave paintings in Serra da Capivara national park is the oldest art in South America. Many prehistoric paintings in the cave date back to 25,000 years ago. The arts represent hunting, dancing, animals and humans and their rituals. The painters mostly used various shades of red. This also depicts the earliest evidence of human civilisation in the American continent.
Laas Gaal, Somalia
The prehistoric cave paintings in Laas Gaal are considered to be between 11,000 and 5,000 years old. These cave paintings are one of the best preserved cave paintings in Africa. The Laas Gaal complex contains eight ancient caves. But most of the rock paintings are in the first cave of the complex. The paintings depict wild animals, cows, humans, domesticated dogs, giraffe and some of the cow paintings are decorated with ceremonial robes.
Tadrart Acacus, Libya
This Tadrart Acacus form a mountain range in the Sahara desert of western Libya. The area is famous for its rock art. The paintings date from 12,000 BC to 100 AD. There are paintings and carvings of different animals like elephants, giraffes, camels, ostriches, horses and men. There are also illustrations of different daily life situations while making music and dancing.