• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 05

The Ways of Hands

In the Natural History Museum, there is a round black pot. It is thousands of years old. You can see the hand of the maker on one side of it, the only embellishment in the smooth black surface. Some say they feel an irresistible desire to touch it. Their hand on the warm clay would be a perfect fit, as if in the satin-finished darkness, they could reach across time. So, too, in some prehistoric caves, among the pictures of ponies and antelopes and suns, are many tiny handprints in red ochre. How was it done on the ceiling of the cave? Was it the children, sitting on the shoulders of their parents, reaching for the curved dark roof of the sky amid the painted stars?