25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Interesting but narrow,
This review is from: The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art (Paperback)
This is a cautious, well-balanced book, with some lovely pictures, that argues convincingly that paleolithic cave art resulted from altered states of consciousness and shamanistic practices.
Having accepted that premise, I didn't find much more. The author is careful not to commit himself or even to speculate very much. Why these particular animals? Why so few and far less realistic human figures? How did the artists reach such a remarkble level of ease and proficiency - are the cruder designs from an earlier period? Why did paople stop producing the art - was it the coming of agriculture?
Admittedly, these questions and many others are difficult to answer, but a bit more of an effort would have been appreciated.
And what about the mind outside the cave? What was the landscape like at that time - a barren polar plateau or lush deciduous trees - a harsh or easy life?
Hundreds of questions spring to mind, but this book is very narrowly focused.