The topic regarding cave painting is very interesting as the various paintings date back to the past times when people were not so adapted with the modern techniques of painting.
Most cave art consists of paintings with mostly black and red colored pigments. The red color was made with iron oxides, whereas black color was made from manganese dioxide and charcoal. The engravings were done with fingers on soft walls or with flint tools on hard surfaces in the caves.
The various paintings and engravings found in the caves date back to the Ice age, roughly between 40000 and 14000 years back.
Cave paintings or cave art is generally considered to have both symbolic and religious importance. Although the exact meaning behind the cave paintings is unknown, according to the experts, they even have the chance to portray shamanic beliefs and practices. Let us discuss some of the oldest cave paintings in the world.
In Bulgaria, the Magura Cave is regarded as one of the largest caves in the NW portion of the country. The cave walls are adorned by prehistoric cave paintings dating back to around 8000 to 4000 years ago. In the walls of the cave, over 700 drawings were discovered. According to study, these paintings were painted with bat excrement which represents dancing and hunting various animals.
The painted signs could be organized into four types namely symbolic, geometric, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures. The different figures included in the cave paintings consisted of bovids, caprids, big birds, parallel lines, T- shaped figures, vertical parallel zigzags, tree or branch-like figures, honeycomb networks, crossed circles, rhombi etc. Few rayed circle figures, primarily the two unica of the calendar scene, represent a sun depiction.
In the Patagonian landscape of southern Argentina, Cueva de las Manos is a cave located in an isolated region. In the paintings, found in this cave, the stenciled outlines of hands of humans can be seen, including the several depictions of rheas, guanacos, additional animals and hunting scenes. The majority of the human hand figures depicted in the paintings were left hands which gives us a hint that the painters held the spraying pipes in their right hand.
These paintings are believed to have been made from 13000 to 9500 years ago. The cave in Argentina comprises a rock art hand painting panel, designed by inhabitants of 9,000 years ago. Inside the cave, rock art displays of humans, rheas, guanacos, felines and hunting scenes were also found.
It is a rock shelter and cave complex inside northwestern Somalia consisting of some of the earliest known rock art within the African continent. According to guesses, these prehistoric cave paintings are guessed to be from 11000 to 5000 years old. These paintings depict cows in ceremonial robes, accompanied by giraffe, humans. These cave paintings are well preserved and consist of strong colors and clear outlines.
The paintings found in these caves are believed to be a few of the most vivid artworks. Different things like cattle, accompanied by humans in their ceremonial robes are depicted in the paintings. The site is well preserved due to the location of the paintings covered by granite overhangs.
Bhimbetka, located in central India, consists of more than 600 rock shelters adorned with prehistoric cave paintings. The paintings depict those times at which the people used to live in the caves. The oldest paintings of this cave are dated back to around 12000 years old.
The breathtaking paintings can be witnessed even on the rock shelters ceiling at daunting heights. The themes mainly consist of the use of the colors like yellow, green, white and red, the themes depicting the sceneries depicting dancing, hunting, horse riding, honey collection and others.
The Lascaux Caves, also known with the nickname “prehistoric Sistine Chapel”, are a cave complex inside SW France adorned with the very famous and impressive cave paintings worldwide.
The cave paintings are estimated to be about 17000 years old. Many paintings are seen located far away from the entrance and were made with the help of candles. The very famous painting is the Great Hall of the Bulls in which deer, horses, and bulls are displayed. One of its bulls is 17’ in length, which is the biggest animal found so far in any cave.
In the northern part of Spain, discovered within the 19 th century, this cave was the original cave where the prehistoric paintings were found. The paintings were of such high quality that even the scientific society had doubts regarding their authenticity.
Many people couldn’t believe that the prehistoric men had the intellectual capacity to create any type of artistic expression. It was in the year 1902 that these paintings were finally acknowledged as genuine. The ochre and charcoal images of the various animals like horses, bison found inside the cave fall amongst the best preserved paintings in the whole world.