X-Ray Art

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A style of prehistoric rock art depicting animals by drawing or painting the skeletal frame and internal organs. The origin of the style can be traced to the Mesolithic art of northern Europe, where the earliest examples were found on fragments of bone in southern France dating from the late Magdalenian. Animals painted in the X-ray motif have also been discovered in the art of hunting cultures in northern Spain, Siberia, the Arctic Circle, North America, western New Guinea, New Ireland, India, and Malaysia. It is found today primarily in the Aboriginal rock, cave, and bark paintings of eastern Arnhem Land, in northern Australia. Figures painted in X-ray style vary in size up to 8 feet (2.5 m) in length and are delicate, polychromed renderings of the interior cavity of the animal.