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What can we learn from the world’s oldest art?

By Irene Shaland

Rocks as canvas: the world’s largest open art gallery

A few hours of scenic driving from bustling Cape Town (and seventeen endless hours of flight from the US) will transport you into an other-worldly realm: the South African Cederberg Mountains, a massive rock wilderness where wind and rain have sculpted giant sandstone boulders, piled one upon the other, into bizarre shapes and towering surreal creations in every shade of rust red, brown, yellow, orange and white.

The Cederberg is the canvas for some of the oldest and most spiritual art ever created, and the mountains – home to the highest number of painted images per square kilometer – are one of the richest areas of rock art in South Africa – indeed the world. And, unlike France or Spain, where the well-known Stone Age paintings of the Lascaux and Altamira caves are located, in South Africa deep caverns are rare, so most paintings are in small shelters or rock overhangs. This means that most South African paintings are easily viewed, but they have also been exposed to merciless sun and rain for many centuries. They are pale remnants of once brightly colored images.

While their famous European cousins, deep within caves, have preserved their freshness and luminosity, the caves are closed, except to strictly scheduled researchers, so visitors see only excellent reproductions in museum pavilions near the caves. Not so in South Africa, where with a little effort and planning almost all of the rock paintings can be viewed – up close and personal.

Read the original article at: Tikkun Daily Blog

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