Rock Art in Africa
Map of North Africa
Engravings and paintings on rock surfaces found in the Tassili Plateau, Algeria
And in the Namib Desert of southern Africa.
Well over 30, 000 sites have been discovered
Rock Art indicates that there has been human habitation in the Sahara from 8000 BP
Paintings and Engravings in the Sahara are categorized into 4 periods:
1. Archaic/ Bubalous Period (8000-7000 BP)
Characteristics: a) Large scale animals incised and engraved on rock surfaces
b) Naturalistic representations of animals: elephants, buffalo, hippopotamuses,
giraffe, antelopes
c) many of the animals are now extinct
2. Pastoral Period (6000-2200 BP)
Characteristics: a) smaller scale paintings done with red and white pigments
b) Depictions of cattle with humans
c) Fairly accurate details in terms of proportions, colors etc
d) Depiction of humans engaged in different activities including sports and warfare
3. Horse Period: 3200-1200 BP
further sub divided into:
Horse and Chariot sub-period
Characteristics: human figures become bi-triangular
Head size shrinks
Small weapons and horse drawn chariots appear
4. Camel Period: 2700 BP
Characteristics: Quite possibly the most recent period of rock art painted
by the present inhabitants of the Sahara
a) Horses are depicted with Arabic fittings
b) Human figures are very small and depictions of camels are common
Elephant, Rock Engraving, Bubalus/Cattle Period
Super imposition,
Elephant and Giraffes,
Engraving,
Fezan Region, Libya
After 8000 BC
Appr. 10, 000 BP
Niola Doa (Beautiful Ladies)
Chad Republic
Pastoral Period
Rock engraving,
(note the vertical grooves
supposedly created in recent
times, by women to increase
their fertility)
Mother and child scene,
Rock painting,
Tassili N’Ajer, southern Algeria
Pastoralist Period
7000-4000 BP
Hairdressing in the Akakus Mountains, Libya. The scene reflects the recent lifestyle
of modern Fulani peoples who dress their hair in similar manner and may link the
Paintings to their ancestors. Pigment on rock, 6000 BP
Two lovers holding hands super imposed on faint but visible images of animals in
White pigment, Western Chad Republic
Cattle
Rock painting, Cattle Period,
Tassili, Southern Algeria, (10,000-8,000 BP)
Figure with mask like head, Rock Painting, Tassili, Southern Algeria
(10,000-8000 BP)
Faceless figure, Painting, Tassili, Archaic Period
Stylized figures with cattle
And horse drawn chariot
Horse-drawn chariot, Painting, Chariot sub period, Tassili, Algeria
Two horse chariot and a man in skirt, southern Algeria
Though the horses are depicted in profile, the chariot is seen from an
Angle where the wheels are seen in perspective
An engraving in the north wall of the Temple of Karnak, at Luxor, Egypt
This chariot closely resembles paintings and engravings of horse drawn
chariot in the Sahara
Herdsman with cattle
Painting,
Cattle/Pastoralist Period,
Camel, Painting, Late/Camel Period, Tassili, Algeria
Map of southern Africa
Panoramic view of the Drakensberg mountains
Engravings and paintings are widely distributed throughout southern Africa
The oldest painting dates to 28, 000 BP
They were created by the San peoples
The paintings depict healing ceremonies, visions,
and realistic and abstract depictions of animals
Characteristics:
under water scenes of water buffalo, humans and snakes
Visions of shaman or healers
Healers in altered states of consciousness
Healing rituals still being performed today by the San Peoples
Art mobile—art mobilier, Rock painting, San Peoples, (28,000 BP)
White lady of Brandberg, Namibia, Southern Africa
White Lady of Brandberg,
Dark skin male figure covered with
White paint or ostrich egg/pigments,
San Painting, Polychrome
Namibia
Abstracted figures,
San peoples
Polychrome
Tanzania
Zebra, San Peoples, Polychrome, Zimbabwe
Antelopes, San Painting, Polychrome, South Africa
Battle scene with the British
San Painting
Polychrome
South Africa
Animal scene--Lion, Giraffe, horses, polychrome, South Africa
Eland and Wildebeest
Rock Engravings
San Peoples,
Northern Cape, South Africa
San religious ceremony,
Polychrome,
South Africa
Dancing Figures, San Peoples, polychrome, Drakensberg Mountains,South Africa
Drawing after a painting depicting a ritual ceremony
---note the depiction/presence of phospheme
San healing ritual ceremony, early 20th century
“Recent” San trance ritual ceremony
San healing ritual ceremony
Therianthrope
San Peoples
Shaman’s X-ray vision, rock painting, south African
Therianthrope and Eland, San Peoples, Polychrome, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Shaman in Trance, San Painting, Polychrome, Makoni, Zimbabwe
A family of Rhinos,
San peoples,
Polychrome
Botswana, Southern Africa
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