The Little People Part 3.
The majority of the paintings show human shapes in different postures e.g. sitting, sleeping, walking, running and activities like gathering, hunting, dancing, single or in groups, making fire etc. Wild animals. Birds and Reptiles have been painted with remarkable detail and finesse.
Many of the paintings depicting humans clearly indicate Bushman being short, slightly stooped with largish anterior. Other paintings depict of the Black East African people tall and slender with prominent noses and “pageboy” hairstyles.
Wild animals are well proportioned and detailed. Some of the paintings clearly identify Oribi, Reedbuck, Roan, Sable, Eland, Blue Wildebeest, Elephant, Leopard, Impala, Kudu, Klipspringer, White Rhino, Lion, Hyaena, Zebra, Wild Dog, Ostriches, Waterbuck and Monkeys. Even what seems to be a Crocodile hide is shown.
Paintings of snakes lizards and tortoises have been found.
Paintings found varied from monochrome, to polychrome- single to various colours. Colours used are mainly red, yellow, black white and grey.
The yellow and red contained iron oxide from hematite and red iron oxide for the red Hematite could by heat treatment produce different shades of red and even a purple. Limonite and iron hydroxide (ferrihydroxide) for the yellow.
Charcoal and Manganese oxides (Proselytes) provided the black, while bird droppings, Kaolin and Zink oxides provided the white. A mixture of whites and blacks provided the different shades of grey.
Pigments were prepared and mixed and the binder was very often blood or blood serum for the red. Plant sap e.g. Euphorbia for the white and water for the black. Animal fat, egg yolk and white was also used.
The paint brushes were produced from soft twigs that were chewed until bristles were formed. Feathers as well as animal hair were set in hollow reeds. Examples of finger painting are also quite plentiful.
It has often stated that these paintings were made while the artists had been worked into a trance and then give expression to their spiritual experience and visions, however this is just a possible theory, and many others feel this is just an expression of an experience or a situation.
These Little People over many centuries documented human and animal, happenings, and activities in the area. By interpreting these treasures we can all obtain a much more informed insight in the culture and rituals of the humans and animals that roamed the area. The knowledge gained assists in making management decisions e.g. the reintroduction of extinct game animals.
These Little People were not aware that their contribution to our knowledge of the history and even pre history would be so valuable to those who arrived long after their departure.
My little contribution hopefully makes the importance of preserving these historical sites very clear. These sites should be found, documented, and preserved and also knowledgably interpreted as they will surely in times still to come provide and reveal many more facts about this now near extinct little group of Little People of South Africa, who once just preferred to live their uncomplicated little lives in peace they hunted and painted and danced and were happy, they never brought harm over anyone and who never wasted.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
Convenor of the AIKONA Group.
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 142 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.