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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Rain and prehistoric pregnancy in a hunter-gatherer rock painting from Namibia
Author:van Rooyen, Piet
Periodical:Journal - Namibia Scientific Society (ISSN 1018-7677)
Geographic term:Namibia
Subjects:rock art
Abstract:ln a recently-discovered rock art site in the Khomas Hochland area of Namibia, a figure that may depict a pregnant female is closely associated with an image of what appears like sleets of rain next to it on the rock face. The images of the 'female', as well as the image of the falling rain, and one of a therianthrope below the main image, have insistently been chipped at by subsequent visitors, probably using the stone implements still associated with the site. Due to the inaccessibility of the site to latter-day visitors and the regular pattern evident in the chippings, these are likely not to indicate random vandalism, but, rather, point to ritualised efforts to gain power from the paintings. This corelates with historical ethnographical records regarding the utilisation of 'power' to influence the weather. Similar rituals associating power with rain-making are still evident in current Namibian hunter-gatherer societies. In this sense, the image of the Hornkranz-figure becomes an extraordinary and specialist rnarker in the endeavours to understand rock art and the imaginative role it played in hunter-gatherer society. Bibliogr., sum. in English. [Journal abstract]