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Nearby hand stencils were dated to about 37,000 BCE. The oldest art in Asia and the world's oldest hand stencil. Upper Paleolithic (40,000-8,000 BCE) The major period of early fine art, exemplified by portable art like the Venus Figurines, bas-relief sculpture and the polychrome cave paintings and engravings of Lascaux and Altamira. Neanderthal man replaced by anatomically modern man, like Cro-Magnon Man.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE UPPER PALEOLITHIC Aurignacian Art (40,000-25,000 BCE) Gravettian Art (25,000-20,000 BCE) Solutrean Art (20,000-15,000 BCE) Magdalenian Art (15,000-10,000 BCE) The Magdalenian period witnessed the apogee of Franco-Cantabrian cave art, with the Lascaux cave paintings and the Altamira cave paintings setting awesome standards of colouring and composition.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the Bradshaw Paintings (c.15,500 BCE) appeared, along with a wide variety of pictographs and petroglyphs made by the aboriginal creators of Ubirr Rock Art in Arnhem Land, Kimberley Rock Art in northern Australia and Burrup Peninsula Rock Art in the Pilbara.
Meanwhile Japanese art emerged in the form of ancient Jomon Pottery (from 14,500 BCE).
Our planet was pegged at a youthful few thousand years old by Bible readers (by counting all the "begats" since Adam) as late as the end of the 19th century, with physicist Lord Kelvin providing another nascent estimate of 100 million years.
Kelvin defended this calculation throughout his life, even disputing Darwin's explanations of evolution as impossible in that time period.
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Thus much of the finest African art and primitive "tribal art" as well as aboriginal "Oceanic art" from the Paleolithic world, are already lost to us.
NOTE: One miraculous discovery occurred in 1890, in a peat bog near Sverdlovsk in the Urals, where archeologists found the Shigir Idol (7,500 BCE), the oldest surving example of wood carving.
Mesolithic Period c.10,000 - 4,000 BCE: Northern and Western Europe c.10,000 - 7,000 BCE: Southeast Europe c.10,000 - 8,000 BCE: Middle East & Rest of World See: Mesolithic Art, for details.
Mesolithic was a short intervening period between the hunter-gatherer culture of the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) and the farming culture of the Neolithic (New Stone Age), during which the ice retreated to the poles and melted.
Please note that any compilation of Stone Age art is bound to be both selective and subject to revision as new archeological discoveries are made.