THE ROCK ART OF WESTERN CENTRAL AFRICA

ROCK ART PETROGLYPHS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

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The Rock Art Shelters of the Central African Republic
Photos Text by Richard Oslisly
 
We can arrange the rock art of the Central African Republic (RCA) into three regions: the north with rock shelters of Toulou, Koumbala and Djebel Mela; the south with all the sites of the region of Bambari, Lengo and Bangassou; the west with the unique site of Bwale. All the images in this section have been photographed by Roger De Bayle Hermens (1966-68).
 
In the north, paintings of the three rock shelters containing paintings are all situated at the Quadda sandstone area. The colours of the paintings are either white, black or red ochre. The anthropomorhic motifs (between 17 and 38cm high) are characterised by the pot handle-arch arms. In the Toulou and Djebel shelters, there are positive painted hands, as in Koumbala. In the Toulou shelter there is the striking presence of a large freeze depicting black, red and white figures.. The animal like figures are rare and represented by elephants and buffaloes at Toulou, by feline and lizard-form at Djebel Mela. The geometric symbols show points, lines, simple circles, triangles and herring bone patterns. The war like figures are represented by throwing knives.
 
TOULOU SHELTER
rock art africa
Cave Paintings
rock art africa
Toulou Shelter
 
DJEBEL MELA SHELTER
rock art africa
Djebel Mela Cave Paintings
rock art africa
Djebel Mela Shelter
rock art africa
Djebel Mela Cave Paintings
rock art africa
Djebel Mela Cave Paintings
 
KOUMBALA SHELTER
rock art africa
Koumbala Shelter Cave Paintings
rock art africa
Koumbala Shelter Cave Paintings
 
In the south, there are more than 30 counted sites in the Bambari Rafai Bangassou region. It is essentially the engravings on the lateritic paving stones that are in the open air. This art is different from that in the north and west. At Lengo the animal figures depict antilopes, birds and felines. The remaining artistic expression is made up of war like figures represented by throwing knives, spears, axes, bows, arrows. The geometric forms are equally circularand rectalinear.
 
LENGO
rock art africa
Lengo Rock Engravings
rock art africa
Lengo Rock Engravings
rock art africa
Lengo Rock Engravings
rock art africa
Lengo Rock Engravings
rock art africa
Lengo Rock Engravings
rock art africa
Lengo Rock Engravings
rock art africa
Lengo Rock Engravings
rock art africa
Lengo Rock Engravings
rock art africa
Lengo Rock Engravings
rock art africa
Lengo Rock Engravings
 
The west is represented by the unique site of Bwale situated in the Carnot sandstone developments. Over a hundred paintings reveal some geometric figures and anthropomorphic figures with guns.
 
In the north, we have many paintings while those of the south are almost esentially engravings on the lateritic paving stones. From a chronological point of view the south and west engravings may be of Iron Age. In the north however, dating is much more difficult as the objective elements are lacking.
 
 
Africa Rock Art Archive
 
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