Myths, Making, and Consciousness: Differences and Dynamics in San Rock Arts.

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    • Abstract:
      Initial investigations of southern African rock arts, attributed to San-speaking peoples and their Later Stone Age forebears, linked art and myth. Recent research has emphasized an encompassing shamanistic cosmology. Reconsideration of the key nineteenth-century ethnographies returns attention to mythology. A revised iconography, methodology, and interpretation of some rock images accentuates historicity, process/practice, and image production as "instrumental action," with implications for interpretation of other rock arts (African and European) in terms of shamanism and neuropsychology. The diversity of rock arts may be understood partly in relation to image-making as a "site of consciousness" removed from universals of mental function but inextricable from history and agency. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]