You might think the first animation dates to Walt Disney's early Mickey Mouse days, but it goes back further into the past. Way back. As in 5,200 years ago. That's the actual date of the world's first animation, found on a Iranian clay bowl.
Did you ever have an animation flipbook as a kid? One of those tiny books with tons of drawings that you quickly flip to get the cartoon effect? That's exactly what this is like, only the drawings appear in sequence on the side of the bowl. They show a wild goat, known as the Persian desert Ibex, jumping up to eat the leaves of a tree, which is believed to represent the Assyrian Tree of Life. This is a big deja vu for me, because I was once gifted with a necklace showing an almost identical scene.
The goat likely represents the Iranian mother goddess Murkum, who was originally worshiped in the region that's now Pakistan. Murkum's popularity spread to what is now Iran. Since women usually prayed to Murkum, it's possible that the potter was either a woman, or that the earthenware bowl was created for a VIP female at the time.
Thanks go to archaeologist Dr. Mansur Sadjadi, who brilliantly figured out the potter's stroke of animation innovation genius, and to Mohsen Ramezani.
Labels: first animation - art