Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings

 The Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings are a collection of 65 paintings around Ristiina, Finland that date back to around 3000 - 2500 BC. They were "discovered" in 1968, though the locals of Ristiina knew of their existence long before that. The collection is the largest one of its kind in all of Scandinavia. Today it is widely believed that they were the work of a people who practiced shamanism, a set of religious beliefs based on magical and otherworldly principles. The Shaman believers of this age in Scandinavia believed that the sun was reindeer that danced across the sky. As such the hunter-gatherers would follow it throughout the day. The paintings reflect this practice I guess. They are paintings of Elk, people, hunters following the Elk and boats as well as various abstract objects. Here are few samples of their work.

 (That hand print below is likely what inspired today's preschool turkey art movement)

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