March 3, 2021 - Comments Off on Handprints are the universal symbol for humanity

Handprints are the universal symbol for humanity

Ten negative handprints in Fish Canyon, Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

If there is a single symbol that could stand for all of humanity it is the negative handprint. I've seen the negative handprint reproduced on 6 continents and across all ages of human creativity. From the Paleolithic to modern times the images persists in our visual vocabulary. They may well be the very first artistic expression. To me, they are the original 'selfie' the very first way that people recorded their passage. That urge to leave a visual mark that says "I was here" is uniquely human.

36,000 year old handprints in El Castillo Cave, Spain

One thing that I particularly enjoy about the hand prints is their personal nature. Each person's print is different. That leaves me feeling connected to the individual who made the print in an intimate way. Even a handprint that is as old as this one in El Castillo fills that sense of connection.

Cueva de los Manos, Argentina photography by Gregory Crouch

We have seen handprints on all continents that there is art. It does not matter if the images are as old and well defined as the images at Cueva de los Manos (above).

Or as recent as the Maya handprints in Belize (below).

Mayan handprint in Handprint Cave, Belize

How can you not look up such a personal representation and not feel connected to the long line of humanity?

Handprints are truly the universal symbol of our species.

-Stephen Alvarez

Published by: Stephen Alvarez in San Juan County, Uncategorized, Utah

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