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      A Prehistoric Horseman in
the World of X-Ray Vision


I was not the first to notice that Magdalenians had drawn some things as if they were transparent, if not from the spirit world. Such style is reminiscent of "wireframing" in computer design. In a copy by abbe Breuil of one of the superbly engraved panels from the caves of Les Trois Freres in the French Pyreneans, I had found one such hard to see "spectre" of a horseman.

In his dandy outfit, this rider could ride right alongside John Wayne.. He sports an unbuttoned jacket,  or vest,  rolled up sleeves, a wide belt, and fancy boots. A pointy hilted dagger, or a short sword is sheathed into the left boot. The horseman rides in a relaxed posture with left hand tucked into the pocket of loose fitting pants.
His horse is transparent, and so we can also see the rider's leg on the far side. The image looms distinctly as the dominant motif in this orientation - about 45 degrees short of being upside down.

To me it looks like it is the oldest known image of a man riding a horse.
Why wasn't this image spotted previously? One of the reasons must be its upside down orientation in relation to the rest. Note the protruding hoofs at the image's top.  

Like La Marche's mobile engravings, the teeming complexity is a single work, not agglomeration. Regretably, the panel is generally seen as a chaotic agglomeration of a whole herd of various ruminants, whose hooves are seen protruding through the panel's margin. 

Yet, it does not mean no animals were drawn upside down, only that none of those were drawn close enough to the margin to make their legs stick out. This circumstance obscures the fact that the image is a mandala.

There is also a much smaller horse in configuration with the rider's horse. The big horse's right ear, and eye now form the mane of the small horse.
This smaller horse seems to have two heads, making it a cluster of three horse heads altogether. This kind of elaboration in a perception strengthens it. The ancient scientist-artists did indeed violate rules of sensibility, and draw some images upside down.


 
I do admit that at first it seems, as if the masterfully etched sub-images were randomly imposed over the rest, as if each image were the only one visible at the time of engraving. Indeed, there are theories that a fine coating of clay may have been applied to the stone to create a clean slate for each successive work.
In this wall panel animal parts, and hooves protrude through the perimeter of the image - as well as one human leg. But the leg belongs to a bull. Hence it is another one of the hybrid beings (The Sorcerer is one example), for which this site is famous. The hybrid's front legs are atrophied, while the existence of the left rear leg is questionable. It could be an amputated leg, or it could be the bull's erection.. Overall, the engraving is a jumble, a disastrous work of obfuscation. Or, is there a flipside to the immovable cave panel?
As I see it, at the top of the image, everything can be dissasembled into series of  streamlined elements, which should evoke associations in most people with flying devices, jet aircraft, flying saucers, etc. From this angle, the rider seems to sit on the shoulder of a strange man with a jaw that would make a shark envious.
The Reptile Horseman scene may escape detection due to supression into the subconsciousness, which according to Carl Jung  (whom I respect) tends to filter out traumatic motives. Our Reptile Horseman should be highly menacing by being woven mostly of reptiles. I see serpents, a shark, a murraine, a lizzard, but, also a duck - all with fair clarity.. In addition, in his right hand, the rider holds
two serpents by the middle, where their bodies merge into a sabre-like shape.





The serpents rise to the rider's elbows with heads turned to the outside, as if they were his weapon. In another version, the rider holds one serpent in his right hand like a spear, while the tail of the other serpent merges with the rider's left arm, whose hand is tucked into the pants' pocket.
The entire left side of the rider's body looks like some giant murraine. From the level of the rider's nose, and down between the lapels of his open vest, a shark hangs by the tail. It is colored in the detail view below







Sustained rising of such associations means that the rider may be a mighty sorcerer, or a serpent deity. This idea can be upheld in an interesting way.

      Sorcerers and Hybrid Beings

The rider's head also happens to be the head of the hybrid creature, we mentioned earlier- the bull with a human leg, visible in the image's standard orientation. The bull's (yellow) head is turned back, as if  licking his shoulder. The bull's right rear leg seems to be human - from above the knee, to the calf, and the arching foot.



The motif of human - beast hybrids is seen elsewhere in the same caves. One is the famous Sorcerer from Les Trois Freres. Another is a bull with human legs, one more distinct than the other. Both are thought to portray sorcerers.
Under comparison, the two hybrid bulls' right rear legs seem to reflect ech other. So, I mirrored one leg onto the other, the bodies still attached. Both  legs fully coincide, except for the inclination of the feet. The bulls' bodies also become aligned in surprising harmony, as many lines of both figures either coincide, or serve as limits of the other figure's lines. Those are signs of order, not chaos. So, it may be that both images ( panels ) were either carved by the same hand,  or carved by the same canon.

                                                    *

If one bull with a human leg is seen by qualified analysts as a sorcerer, or a magician, why should not another such hybrid creature from the same site mean the same thing? If so, than the status of the Reptile Horseman as mighty sorcerer or serpent deity grows greatly, because he is wearing the bull-man hybrid-sorcerer as a hat!
The head of the horse has three variations. The one I opt to show is especially modern and dynamic - like a snapshot, in which the horse's head, in a spirited turn, and a raised hoof, grow into a disproportional size by virtue of being close to the camera lens.
The horse lacks a saddle but there is a line here, which is interpretable as loosely hanging reins. Is the horseman scene merely an accidental vision, or even a delusion?
In my opinion, the horse is established quite well. For one, we saw its head in a triple horse head configuration (rider.gif ). More importantly, t
he carver's undisputed perceptiveness to various forms of animals in his designs means that he would definitely be aware of the horses we see ourselves, and more.
It follows that with such perceptiveness to form,  he could not remain oblivious to the human form astride the largest horse figure in this engraving. Moreover, the rider's torso stands out as a densely engraved area within an empty space
.


 

                                                     Conclusion

Pictorial evidence suggests that though it may not have been widespread, horseriding had existed already in the Magdalenian age.


Jiri Mruzek ©

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(Perrin, Timothy; "Prehistoric Horsemen," Omni, 5:37, August 1983.)

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