Monologue and multivocality in San rock art studies

  • J-M Dederen University of Venda, South Africa
  • J Mokakabye University of Venda, South Africa
Keywords: Rock art, San, Shamanism, Paradigm, Multi-vocality


It is contended here that the leading approach in San rock art studies, commonly referred to as the shamanistic model or theory, has evolved over a period of three decades into a dominant voice. The prominence of this particular theoretical orientation has obscured alternative ways and means of understanding the artistic heritage of the hunter-gatherers who once inhabited the sub-continent. In order to stimulate multivocality and debate the authors have identified, by means of an extensive literature search, the diverse vantage points from which the paintings and engravings of the SanĀ  could be examined. Based on the results of their survey a more inclusive form of analysis is first proposed and then briefly tested against a composite painting from a rock art site in Limpopo.


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