Art from the Earliest Humans at Barakat London

The mammoth is carved from a mammoth’s tusk

A palaeolithic sculpture of a mammoth made from mammoth ivory

The mammoth is approximately 27,000 years old

A palaeolithic sculpture of a mammoth made from mammoth ivory

This outstanding artwork is considerably larger than other mammoth sculptures of the period

A palaeolithic sculpture of a mammoth made from mammoth ivory

The incredible artistic quality of the piece attests to early humanity’s observation of the natural world

A figure of a mammoth, carved from mammoth tusk, reveals the lives of the earliest human artists at the Barakat Gallery, London

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, October 31, 2023 / — It is a mystery what first inspired human beings to create art. Was it to aid in the telling of stories and tales, to make sense of the world around them? Was it to capture the spirits of the animals that they encountered, and on which so much of their life depended? Or was it just something to keep man occupied as he waited through the hours of darkness for the sun to come up?

We will, most likely, never know the true answer. But the Barakat Gallery in London is offering the opportunity to view one of the most extraordinary masterpieces ever to come from Palaeolithic man. A sensuous, virile, depiction of a mammoth, carved in mammoth ivory. Standing at 13 centimetres tall, it is unusually large for a figure of the period; other mammoth sculptures, found in the Vogelherd caves, are a mere 2.80 cm in height. It is a triumphant expression of an animal of deep and abiding meaning for the people who hunted them. The social and spiritual importance of mammoths cannot be overestimated. Every part of the animal was used: tusks and skins were used to build shelters – the remains of which have been discovered in Russia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, and southern Poland – the meat was consumed, the fur was used for clothing, the skin was tanned into leather, and tools were made from the bone and ivory. The form shows a skill for interpreting the essence of the creature: his round cranium, long tusks, humped back, pendulous stomach, strong legs and small triangular tail. The artist had a skill for observation, but also for abstraction and simplification, reducing him to his basic forms.

Found in Spain, this mammoth is a link to some of the earliest Europeans, the first inhabitants of our continent. It demonstrates the spark of human ingenuity and the capacity of human beings to interpret and define their world and the things in it. This sculpture has no practical purpose; either this was art for art’s sake, or this is evidence of spirituality at the earliest period of human history. Either way, it demonstrates the human need to create – a compulsion as powerful now as it was when this mammoth was created, some 27,000 years ago.

A clear masterwork of early sculpture, this mammoth is available to view at the Barakat Gallery in London. Quite simply, no other artwork of this age, and of this size and quality, is being offered for sale anywhere else.

About the Barakat Gallery

The Barakat Gallery is the world’s largest for-sale collection of ancient art, spanning cultures on all continents, and from the Prehistoric to the Twentieth Century AD. With galleries in London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Seoul, Marrakech and Amman, Barakat brings ancient art within reach of a global community of collectors and enthusiasts. Founded in Jerusalem nearly 150 years ago, the Barakat Collection is now under the custodianship of Fayez Barakat, perhaps the world’s most notable antiquities dealer, and a well-respected contemporary artist in his own right.

Christopher Cooper
The Barakat Gallery, London
+442074937778 ext.
email us here

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