This sculpture is inspired by a standing human figure with a lion’s head sculpted from mammoth ivory. The 40,000 year old Lion Man sculpture from Stadel Cave in southwest Germany is the oldest known evidence of religious belief in the world. Made from mammoth ivory, it depicts a creature that does not exist with the head and shoulders of a lion and the lower body of a man.
It is not known if the Lion Man was a deity, a spiritual experience, a being from a creation story or an avatar used to negotiate with the forces of nature. He took at least 400 hours to make at a time in the late Ice Age when survival was hard and may reflect a communal effort to re-shape the human world by dealing with invisible spirits of nature.
More about the exhibition
The new major exhibition Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond explores how people believe through everyday objects of faith from societies around the world and through time.
The exhibition provides a perspective on what makes believing a vital part of human behaviour and seeing how people believe, rather than considering what they believe, suggests that humans might be naturally inclined to believe in transcendent worlds and beings.