THE ELAND IN SAN ROCK ART PAINTINGS
Historic homeland of the Southern Bushmen, the Drakensberg in the southern tip of Africa is a spectacular landscape of soaring mountains and lush river valleys.
First brought to the world's attention in 1915 in Scientific American, the site in KwaZula-Nata is one of the best preserved in southern Africa. The central frieze pictured here contains a multitude of eland
- Africa's largest antelope and the most powerful evocative of all San symbols.
The eland is the most frequently depicted animal in many regions of southern Africa. It is also the animal upon which San artists lavished most care. They painted eland in a great variety of postures, from various perspectives, and embellished them with the finest details. Here we see an eland, depicted from the rear, from the Eastern Cape Drakensberg.
Drakensberg in South Africa is the historic
homeland of the San Bushmen
Drakensberg in the southern tip of Africa is a spectacular landscape of soaring mountains
The San painted eland in a great variety
of postures and perspectives
Detail from the frieze at the
rock art site of KwaZula-Natal
San artists painted eland in a great variety
of postures, from various perspectives
Eland is the most frequently depicted animal
in many regions of southern Africa
San art was much more than the communication of knowledge and esoteric insight, more than mere pictures of the dancers' power. Many of the paintings were storehouses of the supernatural potency that shamans harnessed for their cosmological journeys. Moreover, the rock on which the images were placed was like a veil suspended between this world and the spirit world.