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Since the 1960s a new wave of research among the San and their world-famous rock art has overturned these misconceived ideas. Here,
the great authority David Lewis-Williams and his colleague Sam Challis reveal how analysis of the rock paintings and engravings can be made to yield vital insights into San beliefs and ways of thought. This is possible because we possess comprehensive transcriptions, made in the nineteenth century, of interviews with San informants who were shown copies of the art and gave their interpretations of it. Using the analogy of the Rosetta Stone, the authors move back and forth between these San texts and the rock art, teasing out the subtle meanings behind both.
The picture that emerges is very different from past analysis: this art is not a naïve narrative of daily life but rather is imbued with power and religious depth.
A Note on Pronunciation 15
1 Back in Time 16
2 Dance of Life, Dance of Death 51
3 'These are sorcery's things' 73
4 Discovering Rain 94
5 Capturing Rain 110
6 Truth Hidden in Error 132
7 The Imagistic Web of Myth 153
8 Into the Unknown 172
9 'Simple' People? 189
Bibliography and Guide to Further Reading 209
Sources of Illustrations 220
Posted August 29, 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed "Deciphering Ancient Minds"...Lewis-Williams and Challis show their expertise on the subject of San rock art and history. They demonstrate much insight and really fire your imagination...a must read!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.