Yima and his Bull: Gemini and Taurus in the Lascaux Caves
By William Glyn-Jones
This piece is written by William Glyn-Jones, and is based on a chapter from his as yet unpublished book Amazement Arcadia.
It is a summarized version of a longer piece that, for those who find the summary intriguing, can be found at
or by following this link: THE LASCAUX TWIN
The possibility that constellations, specifically Taurus and the Pleiades, were represented in the artwork of the Lascaux caves has been suggested before. Luz Antequera Congregado first suggested in her doctoral thesis in 1992 that the dots above the shoulder of this bull depict the Pleiades (and that the dots on the bull's face are the neighbouring Hyades).
Keeping this in mind we may then go to another theory about Lascaux art, and the leaning bird-man image to be specific, which suggests that he and his bull represent the old myth of Yima and the Primordial Bull. Mary Settegast in Plato Prehistorian makes this brilliant suggestion. This Yima figure is found in Hindu India as Yama, Persia as Yima, Norse lands as Ymir, and always there are the associations of the primordial bovine, the identity of Yima as a first ancestor, and as the lord of the dead, and usually there is the creation of the world from his body. The Indo-European root of this name means "Twin", and Gemini ("twins") is from this same root. This is where I fuse the two aforementioned theories into one, and an increasingly solid hypothesis begins to reveal itself.
The Twins constellation, Gemini, is located next to Taurus, the Bull. Gemini consists of two long straight lines leaning at a 45-degree angle with respect to the ecliptic, while the majority of Zodiac figures stand upright at culmination. The Bird Man also leans at this angle, and is drawn from two long straight lines. He is certainly in the right position relative to the Bull.
The Rhino in the painting (believed my Mary Settegast to represent the Death Principle in the myth) is in the location of Leo, and with some delight we observe that the back parts of the Rhino map perfectly onto the formation of this constellation.