Curator Jill Cook introduces the 40,000-year-old sculpture of lion man. A figure made of mammoth ivory with the body of a man and the head of a cave lion. Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond 2 November 2017 – 8 April 2018 To find out more and book tickets, visit: https://goo.gl/4U7ebx Supported by the Genesis Foundation. With grateful thanks to John Studzinski CBE. The exhibition accompanies a series on BBC Radio 4 with Neil MacGregor. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
Want to join the conversation?
- Can they be sure that it was not simply a toy for a child or something?(10 votes)
- We have no evidence to show that someone wasn't just trying to make a lion figure just for the sake of having a lion figure. How do we know that it was mean to be part human part lion? it looks that way, but it may not have been the intention. I've seen plenty of humans attempt to draw an animal and it looks like it has a human body or face because they don't know how to draw the animal properly etc.
It could be an attempt at a simple lion, it could be symbolic like the lady says also, but from everything said in this video, these are guesses, educated ones sure, but nothing is proven. Just because we find a lion man figure does not mean it is symbolic of connection with anything spiritual, does not mean it represents anything other than a lion.
The only person who knows what it was made for and what it represents is the person who carved it.
It's a nice to dream, but we need to settle down and look at the reality of the situation and our knowledge of the piece.(6 votes)
- It's cracked quite a bit; is it very fragile?
I think that she's quite right that this is a sacred object, a man's body topped by a lion's head. It would to me be a way to access some of the courage and ferocity of the lion, a way to channel its energy and ability to kill game, perhaps. Thinking of the shapeshifters beliefs in early Ireland, the poems of Amergin; man has to become one with nature, whether it's animal nature or the natural world in water, wind, storms etc.(6 votes)
- It doesn't look human at all to me. And doesn't the fact that it was sculpted from a mammoth tusk explain why the lion "man" is standing up? It's easier to whittle it that way than make it on so it's on all fours.(4 votes)
- Did this make any of you think of the song "Little Lion Man" by Mumford & Sons?(3 votes)
- Maybe it was meant to look like a lion? And it is standing on just two legs to make it seem taller? More fierce?(3 votes)
- Do they glue the sculptures if there broken?(2 votes)
- It sure looked glued, but I doubt that was the case. And, if, indeed it HAS been glued, it would most likely be with something that could be "undone".(3 votes)
- where did he found that ? and what it is purpose of making lion head and human body ?(2 votes)
- At4:09it is noted that the Lion Man was found in Stadel Cave, not far from Baden Wurtemburg.
It was something used in religious practice. kind of like the god Ganesh in hinduism, who has a human body and an elephant head, no?(2 votes)
- Does anyone think that maybe the lion man is a carving of a demon or some kind of spirit the artist saw?(2 votes)
- Why do they think that its a lion "Man", when it clearly looks like a bear standing on its hind legs?(2 votes)
- With conjecture this lady is establishing that we as a human race have always believed in some higher being, to believe in something more tangible then death itself. So we invent gods and the like to believe we will go on living after death.the vikings with Valhalla, Christianity, pharaohs with their gods, africans with theirs and the Aztecs with the sun god, and so on and so on...we have always believed in higher being then ourselves to be true, so I understand where she is coming from as far as an idea about the lion man. for sure we do not know why it was created , for symbolical reason I think, but I do not believe it was for a Childs toy as it was buried deep in the recesses of a cavern in Baden-Wurtemberg, something as simple as a Childs toy no I think not, but I rather believe she is on the money regarding it to being a deity of sorts because as part of being human we are all frightened of whats out there, what is there after death, I know I think and worry about that fro my children and grandchildren so we believe and have faith in a deity, our gods, our buddhas, our crist to give us hope for an after life..I think she is pretty spot on regarding having a belief in beings and worlds beyond our own realm, as she says by things that frighten us, the unknown...(2 votes)
There are over 4,000 religions existing in the world and 85% of the world's people are considered to be believers and through time and across the world we have no knowledge of a society that doesn't have beliefs it seems to be a natural characteristic a product of our hugely inventive minds that we communicate with beings and worlds beyond nature. As fully modern people we go back a 100,000 years and certainly we recognize in the archaeological record from Africa and from Southeast Asia and Australasia really ancient things that show the modern human species beginning to symbolize thoughts. The oldest object that we have which shows us very clearly that we are having a conversation with something that does not exist in nature is the figure of the lion man. The lion man is made of mammoth ivory This is the biggest animal in the late Ice Age environment the fiercest animal in the environment was the cave lion bigger than a modern African lion without a mane, a huge fierce creature What the sculptor who made the lion man has done is to combine the mammoth, the lion and the human So we have human legs and groin the navel in the correct place for a human being and then as you come up the body you come into these immensely broad and strong shoulders and a head, the head of a lion made with such naturalism that we can see that he's watching, that he's listening the little furrow behind his ear, is the furrow created as the muscles tense for the ear to be turned and alert while listening His eyes are looking forward and his mouth in this extraordinary grin this combination of human and animal features this alertness, this participation suggests that there's a conversation going on here a conversation of a human who is so much part of nature but wears clothes, makes tools, has fire but yet is in awe of this fierce lion from whom it's important to protect oneself but also to admire. So this is a really important conversation happening here now I can't say whether this sculpture represents an avatar or a deity or a creation story none of that really matters, what matters is this conversation this sign of mind and this sign of using a belief in beings and worlds beyond nature that help us to get by, that help us to give us meaning and understanding and to overcome the things that frighten us but also to share stories with one another around the fire and we know this has happened with the lion man because his body is polished by the wear of being passed from hand to hand and he's found in a cave, Stadel cave not far from Ulm in Baden-Württemberg deep in its recesses the lion man was carefully put away after sharing stories around the fire bonding, socialising, planning for tomorrow thinking about the possibilities so it shows beliefs in other worlds, in other beings being a really important part for social cohesion and for confidence for human beings to have meaning and carry on with their lives.