The Appearance of Man
The Appearance of Man (masking-out)
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With the representation of cattle and herds of cattle also man appears. He’s the owner of the animals, the master of herds so to speak, with which he represents himself. In the drawings of the big game period man rarely was present. This has changed now. Man is being shown the same size as are the cattle while they stood, scaled down in size, next to the big game species. Man climbs within the hierarchy and self-consciously wants to document his dominance.

One sees him doing his daily chores, milking for instance. Women are wearing magnificently adorned dresses; men appear a little less tall than women, which maybe can be explained as an expression of matriarchy.

Many representations of man are made in a surprisingly naturalistic way. What’s noticeable is the high shape of head tapering towards the top. At the back of the head a shock of hair can be seen, but it also could be a bonnet to cover the hair, or part of a headdress. This unusual shape of head seems to be familiar from Egyptian picture sequences. But since Egyptian painting is more recent than Rock Art in the Libyan Sahara it’s hard to conceive that people in the Sahara drawings should have immigrated from the East. On the contrary, evidence indicates that the migration occurred from the West (from the Sahara) to the East (toward the Nile), and that it’s been the Sahara people who have influenced Egyptian art. But where the herdsmen from the Sahara originally came from, whose art we admire, we have no knowledge of. Have they immigrated from the North, from the West, from the South? Here, everything’s open.

Particularly often there are representations of women with their legs wide open and an emphasis on the vagina. Immediately fertility mythologies come to mind. Several Rock Art show birthing scenes.

On some representations two people in a complex intertwined position can be seen (in the sex act?) without our having to assume that it might be a matter of two drawings from different periods superimposed.

There’s much that cannot be explained; on the other hand there are many details with an obvious, even though not compelling ritual or mythological meaning. In many cases the obvious interpretation should be the most probable one. And this means without further ado that everyday life with its practical matters seems to be the actual topic.