The Neolithic Age was approximately 10,000 to 3,000 years ago. It was the beginning of the end of the Stone Age, when copper was first used, and the beginning of organised agriculture and settlement. Stone tools were the norm, but began to be more sophisticated, specialised, and were often polished to a fine finish. Rocks with a high percentage of silicium dioxide (SiO2) were best suited for tools, as a sharp blow causes pieces to “flake” off, leaving sharp edges.
But What Were The Best Tools Known to Neolithic Man? – because I’m going to sculpt them:
Scrapers are one of the original stone tools, found everywhere where people settled, long before the Neolithic Age began. Scrapers were used both to butcher animals, and then to remove meat from the hides. The hides could then be cured as leather. A scraper is a flat piece of stone with one longer slightly curved edge. The edge is sharpened by “knapping,” or banging off flakes with another rock – Not this one
While a scraper can be used for cutting into an animal, a longer, thinner blade can be inserted deeper into a carcass, or run along a bone, and works better for the fruits and vegetables of a settled agricultural life. Blades are more difficult to make than scrapers; when knapping down to a thin piece of rock, it is easy to snap the piece in two- Not this one
Arrows and Spearheads?
Arrows and spearheads are a more sophisticated shape than simple scrapers and blades. Not only is the tip more delicate, but to shape the end of the head to slip into the shaft, and also provide protrusions that could be used to tie the point in place, required a new degree of precision and care- Not this one
The polished stone axe is considered one of the most important developments of the Neolithic era. Once the axe was shaped through flaking, another stone was used to grind it smooth. Axes make the clearing of land much simpler, allowing the spread of agriculture. Axes also make effective weapons, and it is thought that many Neolithic axes were meant to be used on enemies rather than trees. The need for self-protection led to a more centralised village life within high walls- Not this one
The adze is a woodworking tool. It is a flat blade attached to a handle, somewhat like an axe, except that the blade is turned horizontally, somewhat like a hoe. When it strikes a piece of wood it gouges out a chip. It was and is still used in cultures that make dugout canoes, as it is one of the fastest ways to hollow out a log. A larger adze also makes an effective tool for digging, removing roots and generally preparing land for planting- Not this one
Hammers and Chisels?
Chisels were made by attaching a sharp piece of stone to the end of a sturdy stick. Hammers were made by rounding a rock, and either drilling a hole through it or creating a notch around the outside that could be used when securing the head to a handle by rope or sinew. Hammers were mostly used with chisels in woodworking, though the difference between a hammer and a war club is really only in the use- Not these
Hands are capable of a wide variety of functions, including gross and fine motor movements. Gross motor movements allow us to pick up large objects or perform heavy labour. Fine motor movements enable us to perform delicate tasks, such as holding small objects or performing detailed work.
The complex abilities of the hand are part of what make humans unique. Only humans have the ability to bring our thumbs across the hand to connect with our ring and pinkie fingers. This ability provides us with the dexterity to use tools. It also gives us a forceful grip- Yes – definitely this one
It is The Human Hand That Gave The Birth of Art
The first phase of human existence was the Old Stone Age, which spanned ca. 2,500,000-10,000 BC.
From the very beginning of this period, humans used their hands and made stone tools. If one counts these tools as works of art, the history of art begins with the evolution of humans.
Tools, however, serve a physical purpose. Based on current evidence, humans did not begin to make things that lack a physical purpose (e.g. cave paintings, sculpted figures) until ca. 50,000-10,000 BC; these works are often considered the world’s earliest forms of art. The very oldest examples have been discovered in Africa, Australia, and Europe.
Art was not created simply for pleasure, however. Like much of the world’s traditional art, stone age sculptures and paintings were probably believed to have supernatural effects.
Female figurines, for instance, may been sculpted in hopes of improving a tribe’s fertility, while animals may have been painted on cave walls to assist hunting efforts.
Painting and sculpture are the world’s oldest art forms.
Surviving works of stone age painting are found upon natural rock surfaces, while stone age sculpture is represented mainly by small carvings in stone, bone, ivory, and clay. In the Neolithic period, with the invention of architecture and pottery, painting and sculpture expanded to these media (i.e. painted and sculpted pottery, and paintings and sculptures upon architectural surfaces).
Rock and Cave Painting:
Rock paintings (paintings on natural rock surfaces) have been discovered throughout the world; common motifs include abstract patterns, stick figures, and hand-prints. (Hand-prints were created either by pressing a paint-coated hand against the rock, or by blowing paint over the hand.) Detailed human and animal figures are relatively uncommon, nearly all are quite flat (i.e. lacking in three-dimensional shading), and figures are usually depicted from one of three views: frontal, profile, or composite. In frontal view, the figure faces the observer; in profile view, the figure is drawn side-on; and in composite view (aka “composite perspective” or “twisted perspective”), different views are mixed in the same figure (e.g. a human with a frontally-viewed torso, but head and limbs in profile). These simple views allow for immediately recognisable shapes; the outline of the human leg, for instance, is much more easily recognised from the side than from the front.
In summation: stone age painting is typically flat (rather than three-dimensional) and renders figures in three simple views (frontal, profile, or both). These qualities, far from being limited to the stone age, characterise most of the world’s traditional art. Throughout history, most cultures have placed little emphasis on physical realism as a means of aesthetic expression; only in Europe (starting with Classical Greece) did a sustained preoccupation with physical realism develop.
The two fundamental ingredients of paint are pigment (a coloured powder) and binder (a liquid). For stone age painters, pigment took the form of mineral powders (e.g. iron oxide for red paint) and charcoal, while oils from plants or animals served as binder. Paint was typically applied by rubbing (with fingers or animal-hair brushes) or blowing (through hollow stems or bones).
The most famous collections of stone age painting are those of Altamira (Spain) and Lascaux (France), both cave systems filled with renderings of large game animals. Social and/or religious ceremonies may have been conducted among these works; in some cases, surface damage indicates that the paintings were attacked, possibly in the belief that harming the image would wound a real-life animal. This sort of belief (that manipulation of an artwork has corresponding effects in the real world) emerged in many cultures across the world.
How did I sculpt these hands?
These hands have been made from natural materials – clay dug from the garden, gravel from the ground, chicken skin to line hands to make a human skin texture, sand from Llanbedrog beach, vegetable oil to bind, coloured natural charcoal from the garden fire bucket to colour and sap from trees, mixed with honey to create a varnish like gloss layer.
They are intended to be male hands – hope I achieved this.