Photo: P. Cabrol © Centre de Préhistoire du Pech Merle

Pech-Merle Cave (Cabrerets, Lot): panel of dotted horses (partial view)

The panel of dotted horses in the Pech-Merle Cave (20,000 BP) is a 4m-long set depicting two horses alongside a number of other figures, including several stencilled handprints. The horses have a stocky body prolonged by a neck and limbs tapering off towards the ends. However, the treatment of the coat represented by 169 black and red dots is what characterises these figures. Other lines of dots are present on either side of the horses and border their contours. These dots were spit-paint (blowing the pigment with the mouth). They are common in the Quercy caves and often appear, as at Pech-Merle, alongside stencilled handprints obtained following the same technique. The head of the right-hand horse is part of a rock relief and demonstrates the use of the wall by Palaeolithic artists.