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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Bees, honey and brood: southern African hunter-gatherer rock paintings of bees and bees' nests, uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Author:Hollmann, Jeremy C.
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa (ISSN 1945-5534)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:rock art
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/0067270X.2015.1079378
Abstract:Rock paintings of bees and bees' nests, localised motifs in southern African hunter-gatherer (Bushman) art of the northern uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa are analysed and discussed. While the subject matter is restricted to a small geographical area, the ways in which it expresses beliefs about the power of bees are of much wider interest. The painters depicted two kinds of comb (honey and brood), both nutritionally rich substances that are associated with creation and transformation in southern African hunter-gatherer myth and ritual. Some paintings appear to highlight a phase in the seasonal activities of bees during which honey and brood comb are most plentiful, just prior to swarming. Paintings of bees and bees' nests may be understood in terms of themes about the anomalous and potent properties of honey. These include the creation of honey and brood comb from nectar and pollen (by bees), red and white colour symbolism, the ownership and hunting of honey and dancing next to bees' nests and swarms of bees. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]