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African Rock Art: Paintings and Engravings on Stone Hardcover – May 1, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the end of the last Ice Age (over 12,000 years ago), artists throughout Africa produced stunning work that survives to this day on boulders and cliffs, and in caves. In African Rock Art: Paintings and Engravings on Stone, Alec Campbell (founder and first director of the National Museum and Art Gallery of Botswana) and photographer David Coulson (coauthor, Namib, The Lost World of the Kalahari) survey the genre with more than 200 color photos and 178 line drawings that detail elements of these complex compositions. From 20-foot giraffes carved into stone in Niger's A‹r Mountains to a (probably) 6,000-year-old Libyan painting of a hairdressing scene, the photos are hauntingly beautiful. In addition to its considerable contributions to art history and human history the book, with its foreword by the late star paleontologist Mary Leakey, should raise public awareness of the plight of these masterpieces, now endangered by erosion and vandalism.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

While the Paleolithic parietal art of Western Europe is better known, Africa may have more rock art that is more diverse chronologically, stylistically, geographically, and iconographically than anywhere else in the world. Long overlooked by African art scholars, this aspect of Africa's artistic heritage has recently garnered increased attention. This stunning visual survey provides an introduction to the subject for the general reader. The volume will never be mistaken for a scholarly study, as no aspect of the subject is explored to academic thoroughness. For instance, a section called "Recent Research on the Meaning of Rock Art" is but three pages long! Nevertheless, chapters address broad topics, either thematic (e.g., dating) or geographical, with a very accessible text and numerous photographs and drawings. In truth, it is the illustrations and pancontinental coverage that makes this book so valuable. Highly recommended to both public and academic libraries with interests in art or Africa. Eugene C. Burt, Data Arts, Seattle
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; 1st edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810943638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810943636
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.2 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,104,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This impressive book by photographer David Coulson and co-author Alec Campbell is a comprehensive study of the rock paintings and engravings of the African continent.
Chapter I deals with the history and peoples of Africa, with special chapters on the Bushmen and Bantu-speaking people. Chapter II is a discussion of rock art and speculations on who the artists were, including the latest research.
Chapter III explores the styles, subject matter and the specific rock art sites, whilst Cheaper IV is devoted to dating. Chapter V deals with Southern Africa under heading for Zimbabwe, Namibia, the southwestern Cape, the Maluti and Drakensberg mountains, the inland plateau and the Tsodilo hills.
The following two chapters are devoted to Eastern and Northern Africa respectively, whilst Chapter VIII discusses the geometric designs and the style called Late White paintings. Chapter IX considers aspects of preservation and the future of Africa's rock art.
The book contains 400 full colour photographs and line drawings plus 7 maps. These photographs also include living people and animals. The maps depict Africa, the language groups, African peoples, the distribution of rock art on the continent, and the specific distribution in Southern, Eastern and Northern Africa respectively.
This classic work concludes with a glossary, bibliography and index. I would also like to recommend the books The Cave Of Altamira, edited by Antonio Beltran, and The Mind In The Cave by Lewis-Williams.
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Format: Hardcover
Alec Campbell's African Rock Art: Paintings And Engravings On Stone, superbly and profusely illustrated with more than two hundred examples of David Coulson's color photography, spectacularly and informatively showcases Africa's rock art with examples drawn from the entire continent. The text provides the reader with an authoritative and "reader friendly" historical and interpretative analysis. Alec Campbell draws upon his many years of experience as the founder and former director of the "National Museum of Botswana", and is a resident of the area. David Coulson is founder and chairman of the "Trust for African Rock Art" and combines his special expertise with skills as a photography to provide a visual record of outstanding works, many of which are now endangered by erosion, theft, and vandalism. African Rock Art is an impressive and much appreciated addition to personal, academic and community library African art history and cultural studies collections.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A tour de force of African rock art. I'v visited some of the sites in southern africa and one of the sites in the sahara and the accounts and interpretations given are to my (non-expert) knowledge very up-to-date. This is not just a glossy coffee table book but contains a very well narrated account of the topic. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
The analysis of the art in this book is drenched in Eurocentric anti-Africanism that resembles British "scholarship" of the 19th-century regarding Africa. Ridiculous terms like "Hamitic" are thrown around to justify artistic genius that some people of European descent believe impossible to have originated with the "true negro." Terms like Hamitic have come to refer to a mythical race of East Africans who "owe" their culture to Asiatics. Another vague but popularly used term is Berber, representing another mythical race that explains away evidence of black African ingenuity in the West African Sahel, the Central Sahara, and the Maghreb. However, the Berbers are far from being a biologically related race, as they are more of a cultural phenomenon, similar to the concept of the Hispanic race, which is also non-existent in regard to DNA. Like the Hispanics, who include the most indigenous phenotypes of the Maya Lowlands to blond haired people of primarily European descent, the Berbers represent a culture; best defined by their relationship to the great African desert than by genetic uniformity.

This highly unscientific look at the Ancient Africans (particularly of the Sahara) is disgusting and desperate. The absolute only value of this text is the pictures, which are difficult to come across in most art books regarding the mother continent.
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