I transformed Breyer’s black bear mold into a cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), complete with adorable cub! This species evolved over 100,000 years ago and roamed across Europe and Asia until about 24,000 years ago. Larger than our modern brown bear, the cave bear may have been central to some Pleistocene people’s spiritual practices; this is one interpretation of several large collections of thousands of cave bear skeletons arranged in caves by contemporary humans.
The adult cave bear was customized from the Breyer bear model; she has been extensively resculpted, and no trace of her original surface remains under the merino wool used to hair her. (Yes, she is quite heavy!) She is repositioned into a pose that suggests grasping for a fish in the water, or perhaps digging for roots, both of which would be expected for an omnivorous bear. Her face and ears are entirely new, and her feet have been enlarged and sculpted with paw pads and individually sculpted claws. Her sides are adorned with hand-painted reproductions of cave bear cave paintings from Chauvet cave (right) and Grotte de la Mairie (left). Since hair samples from cave bears are precious few, and even modern brown bears may show wide variance in coloration, I took some artistic license in reproducing her coat colors. I also altered the growth pattern in places to account for the cave painting’s bare “wall”.
Her cub is a simple repaint/rehair of Breyer’s bear cub model. She’s a little rougher around the edges than her mother as she was my practice run for doing a full-body rehaired model. However, she is still irresistibly cute!
Cave Bear: 9 1/2″ x 7″ 3 1/2″
Bear Cub: 5 1/2″ x 3 1/4″ x 2″