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British Museum displays unusual art work for the first time in public

A very unusual piece of art is about to be shown to the public for the first time in Britain at the newest exposition of the British Museum. This never before seen artwork is tiny, the size of a thumb, but it has the particularity to have been created a long time ago, some 26,000 years ago to be precise, and makes one of the oldest art ever created.

The tiny artefact is a piece of ivory from a mammoth, carved delicately into a female head. The miniature sculpture is not perfect and has one wonky eye instead of the typical elongated eyes that we have, in proportions that remind scientists of Modigliani people, a population that lived back then. The new exposition at the museum is called Ice Age Art and shows the arrival of the ice age culture versus modern thinking.

The sculpture was first discovered in a valley now called Moravia and is believed to have been carved by a skilful hand using stone tools in order to shape the hard ivory, a task that would have been pretty hard to accomplish with the types of objects that they had back then.

The museum’s curator Jill Cook calls it a portrait because the face has no distinctive characteristic and does not appear to represent some type of goddess or queen, but a simple woman figure. Whether the dodgy eye was representative of the person it was based on, or if it was done as an artistic feature, is unknown. The sculpture also has a dimple on the chin which would indicate that the features are really from a real person.

This exhibition is the first figurative art one that was created across of the European Union in order to showcase the ice age and art that came from that period. Most exhibits out there cover the last 500 years, but very little has been shown before then. Cook argues that this type of art needs to be showcased more.



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