Water, Stone & Legend - Rock Art of the Klein Karoo, by Renée Rust and Jan van der Poll
In Water, Stone & Legend - Rock Art of the Klein Karoo, archaeologist Renée Rust and photographer Jan van der Poll trace the relationship of San rock art to shamanistic rituals and to stories and legends that still circulate in the Little Karoo today.
In Praise of !Khwa:-ka //Khabbo, the Rains Dream
Rock art is undoubtedly one of southern Africa's most valuable cultural heritage items, and one of its most sensitive assets to safeguard. Although those who created the rock art are not alive today and cannot tell us what the paintings mean, we do have a window into the past through the documentation of their stories by the philologist Wilhelm Bleek and his sister-in-law, Lucy Lloyd, in the late nineteenth century. In addition, more recent ethnographic studies of the San in the Kalahari (Botswana and Namibia) in the mid-twentieth century have been useful in understanding the significance of the art. The rock art images located in the Klein Karoo - the interior region of the Western Cape between the Swartberg and Langeberg ranges, north of Mossel Bay and George - offer a glimpse of an artistic and spiritual world defined by rain and water sources. Today, stories of strange beings, told as the so-called watermeid legend, provide a link to the rock art of the past. The mountain ravines and hills of the Klein Karoo are endowed with permanent, deep water holes in what is otherwise a semi-arid region. Rock art sites are mostly found close to these water reservoirs, where, so the elders tell us, mythical creatures - watermeide - live. The stories told of these creatures are an expression of an ancient knowledge, probably as old as the images on the rock faces. The /Xam, a now-extinct southern San group, told of 'strings that vibrate' that filled their landscape. These were 'thinking strings', a term used by /Xam informants to describe being part of the landscape or physical environment. The /Xam told of the ringing of these strings in the sky, enabling the shaman, the ritual specialist or lgi:xa, to communicate with the rain. The significance of water and rainmaking in San myth and the choice of rock art imagery depicting these elements suggest a spiritual link to the landscape and the locations of particular rock art sites. This link to landscape is an essential feature of myth and ritual. The endurance of the watermeid legend suggests that the thinking strings are still 'alive' and conveys the significance of the places where the water maidens are 'seen' today. Stories and myths have life beyond generations, and can take us to a distant time when San artists painted on the rock faces. In southern Africa the reading of rock art is based on a connection between the art and the beliefs and practices that focus on myth, ritual and perceptions of the spirit world. Rock art imagery shows 'ways of doing' in San religious expression, capturing the ritual practices associated with San spiritual beliefs as well as the physical sensations (for example, feelings of flying or swimming) that accompany these rituals. As such, stories and myths are not easily inferred from the rock art paintings. Yet, in the Klein Karoo, rock art images relating to the mystical source of water predominate, thus opening a window to the 'story of the rain'. [...]
This is an excerpt from the book: Water, Stone & Legend - Rock Art of the Klein Karoo, by Renée Rust and Jan van der Poll.
Book title: Water, Stone & Legend. Rock Art of the Klein Karoo
Authors: Renee Rust; Jan van der Poll
Type: Cultural History
Imprint: Travel and Heritage
Publisher: Randomhouse Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2011
ISBN 9781770079458 / ISBN 978-1-77007-945-8
Hardcover, dustjacket, 21x19 cm, 128 pages, throughout colour photos
Rust, Renee und van der Poll, Jan im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Water, Stone & Legend. Rock Art of the Klein Karoo searches for the relationship of San rock art to shamanistic rituals and to myths that are still alive in the Karoo in our days.
Antiquarische, limitierte Serigraphie aus Südwestafrika 1974: Felszeichnungen der Buschmänner (Folie 299).
Antiquarische, limitierte Serigraphie aus Südwestafrika 1974: Felszeichnungen der Buschmänner.
Die älteste Kunst Afrikas, die Felsbilder in Namibia, ist in der Wüste Namib verborgen.
Die Geschichte, der Mythos und Deutungsversuche der berühmtesten Felsmalerei des Brandbergs, der Weißen Dame.