The fine woocut illustrations used here are from The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons and Ornaments, of Great Britain, compiled by John Evans and published in 1871.
The flint hand axe perhaps represents the first design classic. When I look upon one I am immediately seduced by its’ seemingly perfect proportions, and the miraculous paradox of the irregular angular geometrical chips that form a unified composite elegance. It is a functional tool of exquisite beauty which seems to possess an intrinsic, archetypal sacred geometry. As Lorblanchet and Ban suggested in their book The First Artists: “the shaping of a volume in stone foreshadowing all later sculptures ….the handaxe bears witness to Homo erectus’s capacity for abstraction; it also shows that abstraction lies at the origin of art.” It later morphed into an object of pure decorative art in its' polished jade form, but in some ways i find the original, with its' coarse irregulariities, more striking.
You can view flint tools an artefacts in many museums, and some of Evans's own donated collection can be found at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.