Lascaux My Journey to the Caves Laura Boehmer October 6, 2010
The Hall of Bulls The Hall of the Bulls, also called the Rotunda. It is about 20 meters long, and it varies in width between 5.5 and 7.5 meters. The images in the Hall of the Bulls are amongst the most striking in all of Paleolithic art: 130 figures, including 36 representations of animals and some 50 geometric signs. This is composed of three animal themes – horses (17 individuals), cattle (11 cows and bulls) and deer (6 stags) – which the paintings are in various places.
The Axial Gallery At right, there are three panels, the Panel of the Chinese Horses, the Panel of the Falling Cow and the Red Panel, featuring two horses and a bison. To the left is the Panel of the Red Cows, the Panel of the Great Black Bull, the Panel of the Hemione and, to the rear, the Upside-Down Horse. The painting includes 161 graphics, of which 58 are mostly animals, and 46 are various geometric signs. There are also 57 unidentified figures that may be signs, but are also sketches of animals.
The Passageway The Passageway links the Hall of the Bulls to the Nave and the Apse. It contains a great concentration of images that are often difficult to decipher. A total of 385 engraved and painted figures have been counted and identified, including horses, bison, ibexes, bovines, stags and various signs in the shapes of hooks, crosses and squares.
The Nave There are four panels on the left wall of the Nave – those of the Seven Ibexes, the Imprint, the Great Black Cow and the Crossed Bison. The right wall contains only the Frieze of the Swimming Stags. The species depicted include horses, ibexes, stags, bison, and aurochs, but in quite different proportions. There are also nine ibexes, six five bison, and six stags.
Chamber of the Felines Of the 51 animal figures in this gallery, the horse is the dominant species, with twenty-nine representations, followed by nine bison, four ibexes and three stags. There are no aurochs. Images of felines are more present here, with six depictions, than in the rest of the cave. The distribution of the figures is uneven: 90% of them are found in the first several meters of the passage, which is the narrowest segment in the Chamber.
The Apse The Apse contains over a thousand figures. They include nearly 500 animals and 600 geometric signs or line. Their density increases at the entrance at the far end, and reaches its peak in the Apsidiole, located at the base of the Shaft. Lascaux's fame is based on the paintings in the Halls of the Bulls, the Axial Gallery, and the Nave. If we count the number of figures in the Apse, the Passageway, the Nave and the Chamber of the Felines, the art of Lascaux is dominated by engravings.
The Shaft The Shaft contains only a limited number of figures: eight in all. Four are figures of animals (a horse, a bison, a bird and a rhinoceros) and three others are geometric shapes (dots and hooks). In the centre of the composition, the eye is drawn to a human figure. On the right-hand wall there is a horse, and the left-hand wall contains other figures. This arrangement, made famous by its narrative potential.