International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305


Prehistoric sorcerers and postmodern furries: Anthropological point of view

Barbora Půtová
Institute of Ethnology, Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, Celetná 20, 110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 01 August 2013
  •  Published: 31 October 2013



This paper provides an analysis of prehistoric art documenting the genesis of human creativity. The Upper Paleolithic saw creative rise of material technology as well as artistic creativity as documented by a wide range of artefacts. These artefacts probably depict prehistoric figures of sorcerers (shamans) who masked themselves as animals for their rites. At the same time these images can be interpreted as prehistoric sorcerers in masks descending into deep caves to take the symbolic step across the boundary dividing the world of people and animals, culture and nature. The article makes a comparison and selective analysis of prehistoric sorcerer images that are well preserved for example in the Upper Palaeolithic caves. Special attention is dedicated to the existence of sorcerers in postmodernism, in particular to the furry phenomenon – an anthropomorphous being with human behaviour and characteristics. The term furry is closely connected with aspirations of the people whose desire is to take on the appearance of an animal. They achieve this by putting on animal masks and costumes. The result is archetypal semiotic information documenting the dual substance of humanity – ancient union of the man and the animal.


Key words: Sorcerer, furry, Upper Paleolithic, postmodernism, identity, liminal being