African and European Rock Art
The paintings still preserved on the walls of caves in Spain and southern France portray with amazing accuracy bison, horses, and deer. These representations were painted in earth colors composed of various minerals ground into powders and mixed with animal fat, egg whites, plant juices, fish glue, or even blood and applied with brushes made of twigs and reeds, or blown on.
The paintings may have played a part in magic ritual, although their exact nature is unclear. In a cave painting at Lascaux, France, for example, a man is depicted among the animals, and several dark dots are included; although the exact meaning of such paintings remains obscure, they demonstrate a spiritual awareness and the ability to express it through images, signs, and symbols.
Lascaux, the most renown of painted caves, is an underground one, located above the Vézère Valley, near Montignac, in the Dordogne (southwestern France) whose walls and ceilings bear some of the most important examples of Paleolithic art so far discovered.
The cave, formed in the Tertiary period, by the action of water percolating through cracks in the limestone above, consists of one large cavern known as the Hall of the Bulls and several smaller steep galleries.
All galleries (the oldest art galleries of the world? :) are profusely decorated with some 1,500 engravings and about 600 paintings in shades of yellow, red, brown, and black.
Images from Lascaux, 16000 years old, are shown on this page on the French stamp to the right of the title, on the "Chinese" Horse reproduction and on the FDC placed below. Other stamps on this page display very interesting examples of rock art on the African continent.
Background: Masked negroid woman. The period of round-headed men. Probably later as the early Neolithic. Sefar, Eastern Tassili Mountains, Middle Sahara, Algeria.