Stone Age Art - West Asia
A fox from Gobekli Tepe (9000 BC)
The earliest art known from West Asia is from about 9000 BC, soon after the end of the last Ice Age. It's from Gobekli Tepe, in southern Turkey near the border with Syria. At Gobekli Tepe, hunter-gatherer people built a big stone temple and decorated it with carved foxes, lions, snakes, vultures, and other creatures.
Soon after that, as people began to farm for their food, there is more art found at Jericho in modern Palestine and at Catal Huyuk (CHAT-al-HOO-yook) in modern Turkey. It dates to about 8000 BC. There are wall paintings in people's houses showing hunting scenes. Aren't they a lot like the hunting scenes painted by the San of the Kalahari desert in South Africa?
The people of Jericho and other nearby towns also made sculptures of people, about half life size, made out of plaster and tar. The one shown here, from Ain Ghazal, is now in the Louvre museum in Paris.
Statue from Ain Ghazal (ca. 5000 BC)
A plate from northern Mesopotamia, about 5000 BC
The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient, by Henri Frankfort (5th edition 1997). The standard for college art history classes.