Prehistoric ‘hashtag’ may be world’s oldest drawing: study

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This undated photo provided by Magnus M. Haaland in September 2018 shows researchers in the interior of the Blombos Cave east of Cape Town, South Africa. (AP)
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This undated photo provided by Craig Foster in September 2018 shows a drawing made with ochre pigment on silcrete stone, found in the Blombos Cave east of Cape Town, South Africa. (AP)
Updated 13 September 2018
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Prehistoric ‘hashtag’ may be world’s oldest drawing: study

  • The design pre-dates previously identified abstract drawings from Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia by at least 30,000 years
  • It was found by researchers inside the Blombos Cave, around 300 kilometers (185 miles) east of Cape Town

PARIS: It may be a symbol of the Internet age but scientists in South Africa have found an ancient hashtag scrawled on a piece of rock that they believe is the world’s oldest “pencil” drawing.
The design, which archaeologists say was created around 73,000 years ago, pre-dates previously identified abstract drawings from Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia by at least 30,000 years.
It was found by researchers inside the Blombos Cave, around 300 kilometers (185 miles) east of Cape Town, a site that contains evidence of some of the earliest instances of what humans today would call culture.
Previous expeditions to the cave found shell beads, engraved pieces of ochre and even tools manufactured from a rudimentary cement-like substance.
Among the artefacts was a small flake of silicate rock, onto which a three-by-six line cross-hatched pattern had been intentionally drawn in red ochre.
“Our microscopic and chemical analyzes of the pattern confirm that red ochre pigment was intentionally applied to the flake with an ochre crayon,” the team wrote in a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
They said the pattern appearing on the fragment may have originally extended over a larger area and could have been “more complex in its entirety.”
Although there are far older known cave engravings, including one in Java that is at least half-a-million years old, the team of researchers said the Blombos Cave hashtag was the oldest known drawing.
“This reinforces the idea that drawing was something that existed in the minds of the hunter-gatherers,” Francesco d’Errico, a director of the National Center for Scientific Research at the University of Bordeaux, told AFP.
While drawings such as the one unearthed in South Africa undoubtedly had a “symbolic meaning” d’Errico said early humans “probably didn’t consider them as art.”


Royal runway: Dana Al-Khalifa walks for D&G

Updated 5 min 5 sec ago
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Royal runway: Dana Al-Khalifa walks for D&G

DUBAI: Sheikha Dana Al-Khalifa of Bahrain walked the runway during Dolce & Gabbana’s show at Milan Fashion Week on Sunday.

The royal, entrepreneur and fashion blogger took to the runway in an ankle-length dress with an oversized red flower pinned her dark hair.

Al-Khalifa was joined on the catwalk by plus-sized US model Ashley Graham and an array of 1990s-era supermodels and celebrities as the Italian fashion house presented its opulent “DNA” spring-summer collection.

VIPs also studded the audience at one of the last shows of Milan’s fashion week, with singers Stevie Wonder, Cardi B and Liam Payne surrounded by young influencers in the front row, according to Reuters.

Church bells rang as a solemn procession of women dressed in black and veiled, carrying candles, opened the show. The curtain rose to reveal a cast including models Eva Herzigova and Helena Christensen and actresses Monica Bellucci and Isabella Rossellini.

In the brand’s bid for inclusion, they sent grandmothers with granddaughters, husbands and wives and even a baby down the catwalk.

Herzigova wore a black ruffled dress with a train resembling those worn by flamenco dancers. Bellucci strutted in a black and white off-the-shoulder polka-dot dress with metallic sandals. Rossellini walked down the pink runway with her family.

Italian opera and traditional music, sung by late tenor Luciano Pavarotti, was the soundtrack to the show.

For the first time in years plus-sized models walked a major show in the Italian fashion capital, with Graham dressed in a figure-hugging animal print dress leading them.

English supermodel Karen Elson closed the show wearing a wide dress that seemed to be made of flower-patterned and metallic papier mache.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana incorporated elements seen in many previous collections, with tassels, embroidery, lace, flowers, Sicilian prints, religious iconography, roses, cartoons and more combined in a blaze of color and creativity. Models wore elaborate headpieces, stiletto heels or sneakers, fishnet stockings and tight black dresses.

Spring flowers featured as hair accessories and as prints and embellishment on long ruffled dresses. One girl wore a flower crown and a layered skirt with straw tassels, while another was wrapped in jute with flowers in her hair.

The elaborate collection by Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana displayed the designers’ unrivaled aptitude for over-the-top looks with a something-for-everyone range, the Associated Press reported. There were pretty layered floral dresses with jeweled sandals, bejeweled biker jackets with tuxedo tails, raw jute fabrics in fringed day suits and tiered dresses in sparkly organza.

While the collection incorporated the duo’s well-known motifs, including prints of the Madonna, Sicilian references and floral prints, there was also a pointed message on one netted top: “Fatto a Mano,” or “handmade,” to underline the commitment to craftsmanship.