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1. The mountain first seen in The Savage State is now more subdued than in the initial painting of the series.
2. A Stonehenge-like structure signifies the beginning of monumental architecture and religion.
3. A farmer replaces the hunter-gather: a sign of permanent settlement.
4. An old man draws figures in the dirt, symbolizing the beginning of science and logic.
5. A young boy draws a primitive stick figure of the woman holding a spinning distaff, symbolizing the origins of drawing and painting. Look closely and you will see Cole’s initials on the bridge below the boy.
6. A tree stump, clearly cut by humans, is a disquieting harbinger of things to come. (Cole often used cut stumps to comment on the negative effects of civilization.)
7. Men and women dancing indicate the beginning of music.
8. A permanent settlement replaces the teepees of The Savage State. Smoke billowing out of the houses suggests human control over nature for domestic purposes.
9. Two mounted horsemen not only allude to human control over animals, but also to future military development.
10. The primitive canoes of The Savage State have evolved into more advanced ships, foreshadowing the beginnings of sea trade and imperial expansion.
11. A woman in classical drapery, carrying a spindle and distaff (a rod for winding thread), may be identified as the mythological figure Clotho, spinner of fate.
12. A boy tends his flock of sheep. The presence of sheep signifies a type of landscape depiction known as the pastoral.
13. The presence, left of center, of a soldier in armor presages the coming of military conflict.