If there is a single symbol for humanity it is the pictograph of the human handprint. I’ve seen the handprint reproduced on 6 continents and across all ages of human creativity. From the Paleolithic to modern times the images persist in our visual vocabulary. They may well be the very first artistic expression. To me, they are the original ‘selfie’ the very first way that people recorded their passage. That urge to leave a visual mark that says “I was here” is uniquely human.
One thing that I particularly enjoy about hand prints is their personal nature. True, the hand print is a symbol of all humanity but each person’s print is different. That leaves me feeling connected to the individual who made the print in an intimate way. Even a handprint that is as old as this one in El Castillo fills that sense of connection.
We have seen handprints on all continents that there is art. It does not matter if the images are as old and well defined as the images at Cueva de los Manos (above).
Or as recent as the Maya handprints in Belize (below).
How can you not look up such a personal representation and not feel connected to the long line of humanity?
Handprints are truly the universal symbol of our species.
See more handprint images in our archive (here)