Found at Tursac in Dordogne, this sculpture, as many others, whose shapes emerge from the forms of reindeer antlers, is an example of a "flattened sculpture in the round", in that the thickness of the object does not correspond to reality. Its is likely to be fragment of a propeller.
The "Bison licking itself" is one of the most well known works of Palaeolithic art. The body of the animal and the legs, one of which is broken off, have nothing exceptional: the shapes are correct, the attitude is well captured although somewhat less vivid than in other works.
However, the outstanding aspect of this piece lies in the fact that the artist has represented the animal's head "in a retrospective position", he has therefore treated this head in a smooth champlevé against the animal's body with such mast" that the bison's head may be considered as one of the finest in ail Palaeolithic figuration.
Capitan and Peyrony have published an excellent description of the object: "The treatment of the head astonishes us; it is all there, the bulging forehead of horsehair, the hooked nose covered with hair, the horns, one in relief and the other deep set, the small ear, the wide and well, drawn eye, the nose and mouth's mucous membranes separated by a skin tissue in dotted lines, the fetlock and the mane in long grooves, the tongue slipping out of the mouth, deep set on the back, the well-defined paws, the whole modelled in a most remarkable fashion."
Reproduction in hand patinated resin
- H. 9 L. 10,5 P. 3,5 cm - 200 g
H. 3.54" W. 4.13" D. 1.38" - 0.44 lbs
- Abri de la Madeleine, Tursac, Dordogne
- Material of the original
- Reindeer wood
- Palaeolithic - 12.000 B.C.
- Saint-Germain-en-Laye - Musée d'Archéologie nationale
- Animals, Paleolithic, quaternary, magdalenian
- Art movement