rock carvings and paintings

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rock carvings and paintings,

designs inscribed on rock surfaces and huge stone monuments in many parts of the world by prehistoric or preindustrial peoples. They have been found on every continent and are usually from prehistoric times. Petroglyphs (rock carvings) are more widespread than pictographs (rock paintings), which are preserved chiefly in dry regions, inside caves, and under overhanging cliffs. It is thought that these designs were created for purposes of religious propitiation and sympathetic magic.

Whatever the motive, the prehistoric artist often reached great aesthetic heights, as in the Paleolithic artPaleolithic art
, art produced during the Paleolithic period. Study and knowledge of this art largely have been confined to works discovered at many sites in W Europe, where the most magnificent surviving examples are paintings in a number of caves in N Spain and S France, but
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 of Western Europe, the rock figures attributed to the San of S Africa, the Tassili cliff paintings discovered in the central Sahara that suggest that the area was once fertile, and the ground-level rock carvings of figures and designs in W Maharashtra, India. Similar evidence has been found in the Alps of N Italy. Successive styles and phases have been found, and several layers of designs often have been superimposed. Wild animals and hunting scenes abound, while the scenes of daily life were sometimes depicted alongside representations of ceremonies and deities. In Neolithic times herders and cows appeared, but rock art seems to have declined and disappeared with the advent of agriculture.

In Europe and Africa the style was largely naturalistic, while in Australia and the Americas designs were more often symbolic and geometric, and sometimes approached a primitive form of writing. In W Maharashtra, India, the petroglyphs of human beings are more stylized and those of animals more naturalistic. Carvings were usually incised or chipped out with a stone. Sometimes they were deeply gouged out in intaglio technique. The paintings, made with charcoal and earth pigments mixed with grease, gum, or water, vary from geometric designs and crude outlines to fully developed polychrome compositions; stenciled human hands are found in numerous places. Engraving and painting techniques were sometimes combined.

Bibliography

See D. S. Davidson, Aboriginal Australian and Tasmanian Rock Carvings and Paintings (1936); L. Frobenius and D. C. Fox, Prehistoric Rock Pictures in Europe and Africa (1937, repr. 1972); J. D. Lajoux, The Rock Paintings of Tassili (tr. 1963); H. Kuhn, The Rock Pictures of Europe (tr. 1966); C. Grant, Rock Art of the American Indian (1967); D. N. Lee and H. C. Woodhouse, Art on the Rocks of Southern Africa (1970).

References in periodicals archive ?
San rock art using hematite pigments found along the Sevilla trail in the Cederberg.
The region's rock art, which amounts to thousands of paintings in limestone caves, has been studied since 1994 when the images were first spotted by the French explorer Luc-Henri Fage.
The rock art of Sindh is characteristically different from that discovered in other parts of Pakistan.
One such site that encapsulates history is the rock art in the Hail region.
Measuring 24.38 metres wide and 8.13 metres high, they are South-east Asia's largest hematite Neolithic rock art, and believed to be the only drawings of their kind in Malaysia.
She says: "There are so many ways in which rock art was deployed and in different contexts.
Dr Tertia Barnett, lead investigator of Scotland's Rock Art Project, said evidence was found near Faifley, near Clydebank.
Engraved rock art at the site is regarded as one of the finest examples of later prehistoric engraved art in the British Isles.
Joana said ScRAP was a five-year project to enhance knowledge of Scotland's rock art. A team of four, two of whom work fulltime, were assisted by several partners including The University of Edinburgh and are funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Environmentalists are campaigning to protect Australia's oldest rock art from emissions.
Rock art, dating back 5,000 years, was discovered in India and may be the oldest star chart ever, as well as the very first depiction of a supernova, according to (https://qz.com/1171320/5000-year-old-rock-art-found-in-india-is-likely-the-oldest-depiction-of-a-supernova/) Quartz India Sunday.