Could a primeval version of the Basque 'Jentilak' tale be 25.000-year-old?
By Martin Bless
In the deepest part at the end of Llonín Cave (Asturias, Northern Spain), a fortuitous configuration of minor protuberances and cracks in the wall suggests the lateral outline of an 80 cm high anthropomorphic head, whereas a minor depression indicates the eye. Around 25.000 BP, our Late Palaeolithic ancestors covered the eye with a carefully painted set of red radiating lines and also painted a 40 cm high anthropomorphic female figure on the neck.
We can only speculate about the meaning of this pictorial narrative. However, if the tales of the Basque 'Jentilak', the Celtic 'Balor' and 'Yspaddaden Penkawr', the Ukranian 'Vij", the Hopi 'Hásohkata' and similar giant creatures with heavy or long brows and eyelids might have Palaeolithic roots (Lajoye 2014: 41), the combination of a head (a giant emerging from the 'other side' of the wall in a deep cave), an eye covered with long lines (representing the hairs of the brow?) and a 'heroine' (who closed this eye or had the power to open it?) may have illustrated a Palaeolithic proto-version of these myths.
Sincere thanks are due to Julien d'Huy for his very useful suggestion to compare Llonín's ideograph with the tales analyzed by Patrice Lajoye.
Lajoye, P. 2014. Balor et Yspaddaden Penkawr de par le monde. À propos du motif F571.1. Nouvelle Mythologie Comparée 2: 1-51.
Attachment: Some_thoughts_on_Llonín_Cave's_giant.pdf (700 KB)