Lascaux Caves Kira Heintz October 6, 2010
The Unicorn It is the first animal in the cave, and appears to be pushing all the animals on this wall towards the back of the gallery. It has an undulating appearance, leading one to think that this might be a depiction of a feline, with its square head, protruding withers, swollen belly and strong paws. Nevertheless, two straight horns extend the length of this creature by a third, which tempts one to classify it as a mythical beast. A number of interpretations have been put forward, none of them satisfactory.
The Black Stag Only the upper part of the animal has been depicted, but the figured elements display a high degree of finishing, especially the head. The open mouth is enveloped in a cloud of red pigment, which could indicate the breath. The antlers, which are pushed back, appear to indicate that the animal is trotting. The tips of the horns and the hindquarters were painted with a brush.
Horse Rolling On The Ground Although there is nothing particularly noteworthy about the forequarters, the ensemble – hindquarters and hind limbs – are torque. The origin of this movement is not perhaps a fall, but rather a specific gesture made by certain animals when they roll on the ground or prepare to get to their feet.
The Great Black Cow The outlines and the external anatomical segments, such as the horns and hooves, have been engraved onto a vast, black-colored surface, or brown for the dorsal section. The muzzle, the tips of the horns and the hooves have been reproduced by a brush. Engraved segments of certain figures that appear to be white can be seen on the flanks of the aurochs, particularly one of a rearing horse. The effect comes from the weakening of the support caused by the passage of the engraver's tool, which was temporarily subsequently consolidated by the presence of crushed pigment, and then revived by natural corrosion phenomena.
The Six Red Dots The six red dots, arranged in two rows, mark the end of the development of this gallery. These dots are quite similar to a group of dots in the panel in the Shaft Scene, not only in the distribution of the dots and how they were applied (with a finger), but also in their location, at the far end of the decorated ensembles.
Small Head Of A Horse This small, isolated horse's head, is barely 10 cm long. This is one of the smallest figures in the gallery. Miniaturization, however, does not mean discretion. The heavy line and the black background, which contrasts with the white of the engraving, makes this figure stand out remarkably.
Black Horse This is the only figure on this wall. The image is of mediocre quality, compared with the masterpieces adorning the walls of the upper level of Lascaux, and is limited to the head, neck and the beginning of the back. It is interesting to note that all of the drawings in the Shaft were done with manganese dioxide, a black pigment.