Contributions by Stefano Bolognini, Rainer Gross and Sylvia Zwettler-Otte- Preface by Alain Gibeault
Edited By Sylvia Zwettler-Otte
Preface (Alain Gibeault)
11 Preface Alain Gibeault The authors of this book, Sylvia Zwettler-Otte, Rainer Gross and Stefano Bolog- nini, all emphasize the fact that the Sphinx is a representation of a hybrid crea- ture, half-animal/half-human, with the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle and the head of a human being. It is interesting to note that this kind of representation plays a major role in prehistoric art, bearing witness to the very first paintings made by human beings. For example, in the Chauvet cave dating from 32000 BP (Before Present), there is a man/buffalo, a creature with a human body and hand and the head of a buffalo. If we think of the scene of the well in the Lascaux cave dating from 17000 BP, we can see a wounded buffalo facing a very schematic ithyphallic man with the head of a bird and half-leaning backwards; a stick deco- rated with a bird has fallen from his hands. We could interpret this scene as a realistic scenario in which a man is mortally wounded by a buffalo which is itself wounded; however, it is more probably a symbolic representation of life and death in the confrontation between man and animal. As soon as the man has established some differentiation with respect to the animal, he manifests his wish to identify with the power of the feared animal, experienced as a spirit (Gibeault, 2010). Prehistoric art is the result of a long process of hominization linked not only to biological...
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