Eye Open, Eye Closed

One of the first motifs recognized in numerous iconographic artifacts at 33GU218, this is an ancient, familiar, and quite recognizable Primal Image appearing in verifiably human-carved rock in many areas of the planet, but whose original meaning/symbolism is now almost certainly irretrievable.  Amid lengthy speculation, various interpretations have been proposed, including Life/Death, Sleeping/Waking, Looking Inward / Looking Outward - essentially "shamanic" themes.  If you know of or can think of another plausible explanation, I would like to hear about it.  Please e-mail me at figurestones@gmail.com.


Hamburg-Wittenbergen, Germany, apparently about 200,000 years BP

(Photo by Prof. Walther Matthes)



A figure from deep in glacial till at Groß Pampau, Northern Germany, also displaying the "Atemgeburt" motif (Creature Emerging from Mouth).  Early to Middle Palaeolithic.  Find by Ursel Benekendorff.


A sandstone figure from NSW also displaying the "Atemgeburt" in both views.  Horizontal length 6 cm (2.4").   Find by author in Australian bushland (NSW).


From Beegden, Holland, putatively Middle Paleolithic.  Jan van Es collection.


The eye-open, eye-closed motif in a face emerging from a large self-standing "Venus"-like limestone figure in southeastern Ohio at archaeological site 33GU218, where it appears repeatedly.


 Mammoth ivory figurine, Mal'ta, northern Siberia, ca. 20,000 years BP.



A recent but traditional Inuit mask.  Eye-open / eye-closed (or squinting) is a very common theme in Inuit/Yupik imagery, likely having entered from eastern Asia (see Siberian figurine above) before being carried southward where it is a common American Indian theme.



Another recent but traditional Inuit mask.



Limestone Figure, 33GU218, Eye Open / Eye Shut   Limestone Figure, 33GU218, Eye Open / Eye Shut

At 33GU218, small and skillfully detailed, the theme appears on a small limestone figure.  The bird-form mouth motif is also present here.


In limestone, eye-open / eye-closed on a quasi-anthropomorphic face at the opposite end of a small canine figure.   At 33GU218.


Also in limestone, eye-open / eye-closed on a quasi-anthropomorphic face on the opposite side of a rabbit figure at 33GU218.  Height 45 mm (1.8").



 Again in limestone at 33GU218.



Limestone at 33GU218.




Limestone at 33GU218.



From Licking County, Ohio, a siltstone figure reportedly found in about 1983 embedded in shale at about 18 m (60') below the terrain surface.  Strange...


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