San Rock Art, South Africa
Prehistoric rock paintings by the San hunter-gatherers of southern Africa.
San rock art in the the Gamepass shelter South Africa How old this rock art is is anyone’s guess. We do know that there have been people in Southern Africa as long as there have been people. The uncertainties are one of the frustrations and delights of ancient art. The San people certainly painted these figures, perhaps in modern times, but how old is their painting tradition? It conceivably traces its origins to the foundation of human civilization. That urge to make an image that all artis...
This San rock painting depicts an upside-down, plum-red antelope with a bleeding nose and, at the upper left, a smaller antelope painted in yellow, also bleeding from the nose. The upside-down posture and the nasal emanations both indicate death. For the San, this death was both literal and metaphoric. Metaphorically, death involved a shaman's passage to the Spirit World that was believed to exist behind the rock surface. The painting is from the eastern Free State of South Africa, which ...