Swimming Reindeer: Difference between revisions

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(italicize title, italics add, edit to lead to include mention of an artist, edit to description of the work's creation in lead)
{{italic title}}
{{Infobox artefact
| name = ''Swimming Reindeer''
| image = [[File:Sleeping Reindeer 3 2918856445 7d66cc4796 o.jpg|290px]]
| image_caption = The 13,000 year old swimming''Swimming reindeerReindeer'' sculpture
| material = Mammoth ivory
| size = 207 mm long
}}
 
The '''''Swimming Reindeer''''' is the name given to a 13,000 year old [[Magdalenian]] sculpture of two swimming reindeer conserved in the [[British Museum]]. The sculpture was made in France by carvingan unknown artist who carved the artwork from the tip of a [[mammoth]] tusk. The sculpture was found in two pieces in 1866, but it was not until the early 20th century that [[Henri Breuil|Abbé Henri Breuil]] realised that the two pieces fit together to form a single sculpture of two reindeer swimming nose-to-tail.<ref name="brad"/>
 
==Discovery==
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{{wide image|Sleeping Reindeer - horizontal.jpg|1000px|The male reindeer is on the left, the female is to the right.}}
The sculpture shows a female reindeer closely followed by a larger male reindeer. The larger male is indicated by his size, antlers and genitals, whilst the female has her teats modelled. The reindeer are thought to be swimming in illustration of the migration of deer that would have taken place each autumn. It is known that it would be autumn as both reindeer are shown with antlers, and only during autumn do both male and female reindeer have antlers.<ref name=trans>[http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/about/transcripts/episode4/ Transcript of Episode 4], ''History of the World in 100 Objects'', BBC, accessed 9 August 2010</ref> At this time of year reindeer would be much easier to hunt, and the meat, skin and antlers would be at their best.<ref name="ahotw">[http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/DyfP6g6dRN6WdwdnbIVbPw Swimming Reindeer], bbc.co.uk, accessed 2 August 2010</ref> Each of the reindeer has been marked with a [[burin]] to show different colouring and texture in the deer's coat. Oddly there are ten deeper cuts on each side of the back of the leading female reindeer. These may have been intended to indicate coloured markings, but their purpose is unclear.<ref name=bm>[http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_prb/s/swimming_reindeer.aspx ''Swimming reindeer''], British Museum, accessed 2 August 2010</ref>
Further studies of Ice Age artifacts gives the hypothesis that the marks may have been made to keep track of how many animals, in this case reindeer, the owner of the carving killed during the hunt,{{Citation needed|date=July 2011}} It is thought that women would gather the animals in a rushed group setting. Cleaning and preparing it could not only be hectic but lead to quarrels about who gets what and how much. It could also mean that the owner made it through their 10th season of hunting during the migration, or any other counting related tracking system.{{Citation needed|date=July 2011}}
 
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==''History of the World in 100 Objects''==
This sculpture was chosen as object 4 in the ''[[A History of the World in 100 Objects|History of the World in 100 Objects]]''. This was a series of radio programmes created in a partnership between the [[BBC]] and the British Museum.<ref name="ahotw"/>
 
==See also==