The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art

The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art

by David Lewis - Williams (Author)


The central themes of this intellectually invigorating and wide-ranging book - the evolution of the brain and mind, primary vs. higher-order consciousness, Neanderthals vs. Cro-Magnons, the nature of art, and shamanism - are guaranteed to capture the public imagination. This compellingly written 'detective story' puts forward the most convincing explanation yet proposed for the origins of image-making and art, examining how the Neanderthals lived for over 10,000 years alongside our Cro-Magnon ancestors, but never developed art. The reason for this lay in the evolution of the human mind. Cro-Magnons possessed a higher-order consciousness and more advanced neurological make-up, which enabled them to experience shamanistic trances and vivid mental imagery. It became important for them to 'fix', or paint, these images on to cave walls, which they perceived as the membrane between their world and the spirit world from which the visions came. These illuminating glimpses into the ancient mind are skilfully interwoven with the story of modern-day cave discoveries and vivid descriptions of the beautiful Ice-Age art found in caves such as Lascaux and Altamira.


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More Information

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320
Edition: 01
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
Published: 01 Nov 2002

ISBN 10: 0500051178
ISBN 13: 9780500051177

Author Bio
David Lewis-Williams is Professor Emeritus and Senior Mentor in the Rock Art Research Institute, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. His other books include Believing and Seeing: Symbolic Meanings in the Southern San Rock Paintings and, with Jean Clottes, The Shamans of Prehistory: Trance and Magic in the Painted Caves.