Rock Art


Throughout time, man has left his mark through drawings on walls, stones and caves . He has represented with his art, innumerable scenes of his life on earth, human and animal figures are common to find, plants and objects to represent their properties, signs and geometric figures to communicate, all these artistic drawings show dexterity, intelligence and the way of thinking they had. It is very likely that before writing was invented, the drawings captured in these places were their means of communication , to write down their beliefs and thoughts.


What is Rock Art?

The rock art is, essentially, a primitive expression that is reflected in practically all the epochs of the history of the human being. It is the representation on stones, walls or caves of objects, different animals, plants, life stories, geometric figures and signs as a form of communication. It is the first form of artistic manifestation of the human being in the Prehistoric era , long before writing was invented.


It is known as cave art to the traces that the activity of men has had or the images that have been drawn and engraved on all types of surface whose base is the rock . All these artistic manifestations are a reflection of the great capacity that our ancestors had to represent their daily life.


Characteristics of rock art

Rock artThe drawings represent animals, mainly bulls, mammoths, horses, and bison. It is not very common to find human figures, although it has been verified. Many of these images are symbolic. The use of polychromy is an important feature. They obtained colors through natural elements such as coal and earth, mixing them with vegetable and egg juices. They used to represent hunting activities . They are generally located in caves and stones. It is common to find sizes. They were a type of sculpture mainly focused on women and their physical attributes and it is believed that it was related specifically to motherhood and fertility. They did not have a specific painting technique as they basically used their fingers to make their art.

History of Rock Art

In the middle of the 19th century in Europe , some stone carved objects with specific representations of animals had been located in different caves. In 1879 the cave paintings were discovered for the first time. One of the first caves that was studied was the cave in Altamira ( Spain ) in which drawings were found representing bison with different colors. At first, this discovery was denied by the community of artists and scientists, but later it would be given the importance it deserved as more finds were made in other cave sites in Spain and other countries. From that moment on, scientists have devoted themselves to searching more and more for this type of primitive art..

Prominent figures

Rock art What is it, history, characteristics, figures Europe, America

The rock art involves a great variety of figures and drawings. The petroglyphs are engraved images on rock surfaces. They are known as cave engravings and were carved in rocks with instruments of hard consistency as pointers that were made for this purpose. The pictographs were also prominent figures in rock art. They were drawings made on rocks with colored pigments and it was known as cave painting. They used mixtures made with minerals, vegetables and animal products, and in this way they managed to obtain color. These pigments were placed with the fingers or with instruments that simulated a brush.

Rock Art in America

The cave of the hands located in Argentina, gives us an example of rock art. You can see figures of hands, animals, hunting scenes . The Sierra de San Francisco in Mexico was a city inhabited by peoples who inherited the best samples of cave paintings . Thanks to the climate, they have been preserved perfectly. They illustrate humans and animals.

Rock Art in Asia

In Huashan , a town located in southeastern China , we can find one of the largest stone murals in the world. With more than 1,800 different figures representing animals and swords and ranging between 30 cm and 3 meters in height.

Rock Art in Africa

The Tassili n’Ajjer is located in the Sahara desert . More than 15,000 paintings and stone engravings record figures of migrating animals and the evolution of life in the place. The Drakensberg Park in South Africa has an immense number of paintings related to the native inhabitants of the place. Located in caves and rocks, the pictorial panels identify animals and human representations.

Rock Art in Oceania

The Kakadu National Park in Australia is one of the major archeology reserves in the world. All prints, paintings and places us reflect the lives of their people, hunters and gatherers since the time of the pre – history up to the present inhabitants still continue to make rock art.

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