The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News
Half Human Half Animal Rock Art
Thursday 12 February 2015

Half Human Half Animal Rock art; the phenomenon of therianthrops, composite figures and zoomorphs, where characters have human and animal attributes, in rock art around the world.

The interpretation of prehistoric rock art is difficult and controversial. Some of the most intriguing figures found in rock art that reinforce this statement are therianthrops - composite figures, zoomorphs - where characters have human and animal attributes.

the composite figure known as the sorcerer at trois freres in france

'Therianthropy': adjective From Greek therion wild animal + anthropos man. The mythological ability of human beings to metamorphose into animals by means of shapeshifting. 

In Palaeolithic Europe, we see parietal rock art of the 'Sorcerers' of Chauvet, Les Trois-Freres (above) and Gabillou, as well as the portable rock art - sculptures - of a human figure with the head of a lion. In the San rock art of South Africa we see male figures depicted with antelope heads and hooves (below). In New Mexico we see snakes with human heads. In Mexico and Texas we see humans with eagle wings. In fact, therianthrops can be found in prehistoric rock art around the world; they represent a theme entirely created by the human imagination. It is a theme that lasted for over 20,000 years.

composite creatures in rock art such as the San rosetta stone

Why? Some archaeologists believe that therianthrops represent humans wearing costumes such as masks, antlers and animal skins. This may be true literally, but the fact that the practice appears to be so universal suggests that it is also true figuratively; it is a metaphor that represents the ancient belief involving the permeability of boundaries between the human and animal worlds.

This belief allowed people to pass from one domain to another. Humans could be endowed with the qualities and characteristics of a particular animal species.

Visit the France Rock Art Archive:

www.bradshawfoundation.com/france/index.php

Visit the Rock Art Archive of South Africa:

http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/south_africa/index.php

Comment
Cave Painting
Oldest cave painting found in Indonesia
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 14 January 2021
Chauvet discovered 26 years ago today
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 18 December 2020
Response to 'discovery' claims in Colombia
by Bradshaw Foundation
Sunday 06 December 2020
Drug use and human creativity
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 26 November 2020
Cave art discovered in Thailand
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 07 October 2020
The decorated sea caves of Norway
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 24 September 2020
Cave art found in Thailand
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 13 August 2020
Testing the DNA of cave art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 19 June 2020
Museo de Altamira opens today
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 09 June 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs 7
by Bradshaw Foundation
Saturday 06 June 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs 6
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 03 June 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs 5
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 02 June 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs 4
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 01 June 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs 3
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 29 May 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs cont
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 27 May 2020
The Final Passage FAQs
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 26 May 2020
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
If you have enjoyed visiting this website
please consider adding a link © Bradshaw Foundation
 
 
ROCK ART NETWORK
Rock Art Network Bradshaw Foundation Getty Conservation Institute
CAVE PAINTINGS
Oldest cave painting found in Indonesia
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 14 January 2021
Chauvet discovered 26 years ago today
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 18 December 2020
Response to 'discovery' claims in Colombia
by Bradshaw Foundation
Sunday 06 December 2020
Drug use and human creativity
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 26 November 2020
Cave art discovered in Thailand
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 07 October 2020
The decorated sea caves of Norway
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 24 September 2020
Cave art found in Thailand
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 13 August 2020
Testing the DNA of cave art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 19 June 2020
Museo de Altamira opens today
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 09 June 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs 7
by Bradshaw Foundation
Saturday 06 June 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs 6
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 03 June 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs 5
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 02 June 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs 4
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 01 June 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs 3
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 29 May 2020
The Final Passage film FAQs cont
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 27 May 2020
The Final Passage FAQs
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 26 May 2020
Bradshaw Foundation Donate Friends
Support our work & become a
Friend of the Foundation
 
 
Bradshaw Foundation Facebook
 
Bradshaw Foundation YouTube
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store