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Prehistoric
Prehistoric

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In the history of art, prehistoric art is all art produced in preliterate cultures (prehistory), beginning somewhere in very late geological history.

Palaeolithic
The earliest figurine yet discovered came from between 500,000 and 300,000 BC, during the Middle Acheulean period. Discovered in Morocco, it is about 6 centimeters long. Evidence suggests that this Moroccan piece may have been created by natural geological processes with a minimum of human tool-work, but the piece bears evidence of having been painted; "a greasy substance" on the stone's surface has been shown to contain iron and manganese termed Ochre, and indicates that it was decorated by someone and used as a figurine, regardless of how it may have been formed.

Neolithic According to archeological evidence, the Jōmon people in ancient Japan were the first to develop pottery, dating to the 11th millennium BC. The Jōmon people were making clay figures and vessels decorated with patterns made by impressing the wet clay with braided or unbraided cord and sticks with a growing sophistication.

Free standing sculpture had already begun by the Neolithic, the earliest being the anthropomorphic figurines, often embellished by animals from the very beginning of the Neolithic discovered in Nevali Cori and Göbekli Tepe near Urfa in eastern Turkey, dating to ca. 10th millennium BC. The mesolithic statues of Lepenski Vir at the Iron Gate, Serbia and Montenegro date to the 7th millennium BC and represent either humans or mixtures of humans and fish.

Bronze Age
During the 3rd millennium BC, however, the Bronze Age began in Europe, bringing with it a new medium for art. The increased efficiency of bronze tools also meant an increase in productivity, which led to a surplus - the first step in the creation of a class of artisans. Because of the increased wealth of society, luxury goods began to be created, especially decorated weapons. Examples include ceremonial bronze helmets, ornamental ax-heads and swords, elaborate instruments such as lurer, and other ceremonial objects without a practical purpose. Rock art, showing scenes from the daily life and religious rituals have been found in many areas, for example in Bohuslän Sweden and the Val Carmonica in northern Italy.

Iron Age
The Iron Age saw the development of anthropomorphic sculptures, such as the warrior of Hirschlanden, and the statue from the Glauberg, Germany. Hallstatt artists in the early Iron Age favoured geometric, abstract designs perhaps influenced by trade links with the Classical world.




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