oa South African Journal of Science - Species and supernatural potency : an unusual rock painting from the Motheo District, Free State province, South Africa : research letter

Volume 102, Issue 11-12
  • ISSN : 0038-2353
  • E-ISSN: 1996-7489



From earlier interpretations of animal imagery in San rock art as desirable menu items or art objects, researchers of southern African hunter-gatherer rock art have progressed to the understanding that painters and engravers portrayed particular species in specific postures in order to communicate cosmological and religious insights. Here we comment on an uncommon image that advances our understanding of the ways in which painters in a specific time and place combined observations and beliefs about antelope and large herbivores (terrestrial grazing animals heavier than 1000 kg) to produce sophisticated statements about the hunter-gatherer cosmos.

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