UP Gallery #1 Animals and Quaternions / o) Le Portel Quaternion
Le Portel, 'Camarin.' Bison, twisted perspective; horse; ibex, lower left; stag antlers, right; claviform sign and dots. (c. 10,000 BC)
Comment: As I have argued (see Publications), by the time of the Magdalenian, there appears to be a religious symbol system in which four animal symbols, horse, bison, ibex and deer, are structured in a complementarity relationship or 'quaternion'. Once utilized in such a semiotic system, the animal symbols can function as a complex, multi-leveled mnemonic device, an 'encyclopedia' of Magdalenian social and naturalist knowledge and spiritual values. See the similar kind of quaternion representation in Niaux Black Salon group in previous slide.
Photo tinted from black and white photo © André Leroi-Gourhan. (1967). Treasures of Prehistoric Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, fig. 585.