Updated: February 5, 2013 7:33 AM | By The Associated Press, thecanadianpress.com

British Museum puts art from Ice Age on show

LONDON - The art world loves hype. Works are touted as the biggest, the rarest, the most expensive.


British Museum puts art from Ice Age on show

An oldest known portrait of a woman sculptured from mammoth ivory dates at least 27,000 old, discovered at Dolni Vestonice, Moravia, Czech Republic is seen on display in an exhibition 'Ice Age Art : arrival of the modern mind' at the British Museum in London, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. The sculpture The exhibition present masterpieces create from the last Ice Age between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, drawn from across Europe, by artists with modern minds and presented alongside modern works to illustrate the fundamental human desire to communicate and make art as a way of understanding ourselves and our place in the world. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

LONDON - The art world loves hype. Works are touted as the biggest, the rarest, the most expensive.

Even in an age of superlatives, the British Museum has something special — the oldest figurative art in the world.

The artworks on display in the new exhibition "Ice Age Art" are so old that many are carved from the tusks of woolly mammoths.

Made between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, they are carved from bones, tusks and antlers and depict animals such as bison and lions, as well as human figures.

The show, subtitled "arrival of the modern mind" explores the moment human brains began to embrace abstraction, symbolism and imagination.

Curator Jill Cook said Tuesday that the prehistoric creators of these works "are fully modern humans ... capable of imagination and creativity."

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