Swimming Reindeer: Difference between revisions

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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/whats_on/past_exhibitions/2010/archive_swimming_reindeer.aspx ''Swimming reindeer''], British Museum, accessed 3 June 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}}
Former Director of the British Museum [[Neil MacGregor]] says of the manufacturing process:
{{quote|If you look closely, you can see that this little sculpture is the result, in fact, of four separate stone technologies. First, the tip of the tusk was severed with a chopping tool; then the contours of the animals were whittled with a stone knife and scraper. Then the whole thing was polished using a powdered [[iron oxide]] mixed with water, probably buffed up with a [[chamois leather]]. And finally the markings on the bodies and the details of the eyes were carefully incised with a stone engraving tool. In execution as well as in conception, this is a very complex work of art. And it seems to me that it has all the qualities of precise observation and interpretation that you'd look for in any great artist.}}
 
==Other views==