By J. David Lewis-Williams
Taking as his start line the remarkable Linton panel within the Iziko-South African Museum in Cape city, J. D. Lewis-Williams examines the creative and cultural value of rock artwork and the way this artwork sheds gentle on how San image-makers conceived their global. It additionally information the eu stumble upon with rock paintings in addition to the contentious ecu interplay with the artists’ descendants, the modern San people.
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Additional resources for San Rock Art
If any consensus is to be reached on what San rock art meant to the people who made it, it will have to be founded on these two principles. First, we must give as much attention to the images as to the ethnography. All too often, what appear to be exciting new approaches and insights, such as some of those I have mentioned, are founded on the ethnography combined with a theoretical position popular at the time, but pay little attention to the details of the imagery. They consequently carry no weight.
In some ways, it could be said that 46 each approach added something to our increasingly complex understanding of San rock art. Instead, I emphasise the nature of the consensus that underlies all of them: if we want to understand the art, we must study San ethnography, that is, authentic records of San religion, rituals, mythology and the kinship structures in which they functioned. But that is not all. There are two guiding principles that we must keep in the forefront of our minds. If any consensus is to be reached on what San rock art meant to the people who made it, it will have to be founded on these two principles.
In the event, he refused to go to Cape Town to face his accusers because he did not recognise the authority of the Bishop of Cape Town. His friend Wilhelm Bleek, not himself a believer, consented to conduct his defence in the ecclesiastical court – unsuccessfully, as it turned out, and Colenso was excommunicated. At the time when Bleek was conducting his San researches, there was thus a major struggle being waged between colonial views, aided and abetted by the British government, and a more liberal tradition.