This picture is known as horse number five from Grotte Cosquer. It is not clear whether it is an adult or a foal. The symbols starting on the right are:
sān 〣 ,Suzhou numeral for three;
yuè 月 , meaning month;
a pointer, meaning after this point or then;
gān 干 , meaning dry.
The choice of translation for gān is difficult, because I don’t have much information about the image. I also only have one example of the use of this character. The modern meaning could be dry, and hence the verb to wean. Thus, a suggested translation would be ‘wean after three months’ for a foal, or ‘milk production drops after three months’ for a mare.
Luckily, there is something about Cosquer that might point us in the right direction. In 2005, Clottes, Courtin and Vanrell suggested that Cosquer might have been a prehistoric pharmacy because they found evidence that calcium carbonate was collected there¹. A growing foal or a lactating mare might be given a calcium supplement. This could explain the writing on the wall. Dry in the context of weaning is therefore the translation that I have decided to use.
Image Credit: Jean Clottes, Jean Courtin, Luc Vanrell: Prehistoric Images and Medicines Under the Sea: http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/cosquer/cosquer3.php
1. Jean Clottes, Jean Courtin, Luc Vanrell: Prehistoric Images and Medicines Under the Sea: http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/cosquer/cosquer5.php