Length: 16.600 cm
Excavated and bequeathed by Henry Christy
P&EE Sieveking Catalogue no. 310
Perforated baton with low relief horse
Late Magdalenian, about 12,500 years old
From the rockshelter of La Madeleine, Dordogne, France
Made from reindeer antler
Between about 14,000 and 10,000 year ago, many objects made of bone and antler were decorated with animals. At La Madeleine, horses seem to have been a particular favourite. Here the surface of the antler around the outline of the horse has been scraped away, so the body stands out in low relief.
The line of the horses' chest, the way in which the front legs point towards the back and the upward position of the tail all suggest that the animal is running. Its head and eye are large and not accurately to scale with the body. This may be the artist's way of emphasising the character of the animal in a small space. It is a common technique in portable art, but one that is rarely seen in the painted cave art of the period.