Cave painting dating back to 40,000 years is world's oldest figurative art

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Researchers used technology called uranium series analysis to find the exact time when it was actually painted.(Representational Image
Researchers used technology called uranium series analysis to find the exact time when it was actually painted.(Representational Image

New Delhi : A new research claims that painting of an animal done 40,000 years ago in a cave in Indonesia is world's oldest figurative art. The painting depicts a native type of wild cattle, is among thousands of artworks discovered decades ago in the remote region.

While researchers have discovered the oldest painting in Borneo, they used technology called uranium series analysis to find the exact time when it was actually painted.

The discovery is likely to add evidences that cave painting did not emerge only in Europe, as most of us know. 

"We can see that figurative art developed and evolved more or less at the same time in Asia and in Europe," researcher Maxime Aubert told.

In 2014, researchers dated figurative art on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi to 35,000 years ago, but some of the paintings examined by Aubert and his team in nearby Borneo were produced at least 5,000 years earlier.

Aubert, an associate professor at Australia's Griffith University, worked with a team in remote and inaccessible caves in the East Kalimantan area of Borneo to date the paintings. They have analysed the multiple layers of artwork painted on top of each other.

The bottom-most and oldest layer featured paintings of animals depicts a local type of cattle as well as hand stencils in a reddish colour. On top of those artworks were hand stencils in a mulberry colour grouped in patterns and embellished with lines and dots, as well as small stick-like human figures in the same colour.

The final layer featured people, boats and geometric designs.