Original Title: World Rock Art (Conservation and Cultural Heritage Series) by Jean Clottes
• 0892366826 (ISBN13: 9780892366828)
• Edition Language: English
• Format: Hardback
• Paperback, 140 pages
• Published: 2002 by Getty Publications
Although cave paintings from the European Ice Age have has gained considerable renown, for manypeople the term "rock art" remains full of mystery. Yet it refers to perhaps the oldest form of artistic endeavor, splendid examples of which exist on all continents and from all eras. Rock art stretches in time from about forty thousand to less than forty years ago and can be found from the Arctic Circle to the tip of South America, from the caves of southern France to the American Southwest. It includes animal and human figures, complex geometrical forms, and myriad mysterious markings.
Illustrated in color throughout, this book provides an engaging overview of rock art worldwide. An introductory chapter discusses the discovery of rock art by the West and the importance of landscape and ritual. Subsequent chapters survey rock art sites throughout the world, explaining how the art can be dated and how it was made. The book then explores the meaning of these often enigmatic images, including the complex role they played in traditional societies. A final chapter looks at the threats posed to rock art today by development, tourism, pollution, and other dangers, and discusses current initiatives to preserve this remarkable heritage.
Not art in the modern sense of aesthetic objects, rock art--that is, any drawing made on a stone surface by painting, engraving, or sculpting--is nevertheless the oldest expression of the artistic impulse. Found all over the world, it spans a time period from approximately 50,000 years ago up into the second half of the twentieth century. Clottes is a leading authority on rock art, and this accessible and beautifully produced volume covers sites in Africa, Australia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, China, and Oceania, including such well-known jewels as the Hall of Bulls in Lascaux, France, and many less-familiar wonders. Clottes' topics range from the relationship of rock art to its location to the techniques used in its creation, the choice of sites, rock art images, and the challenges and methodology of rock art preservation. Clottes' commentary is clear, concise, and compelling, and the photographs are glorious, making this an excellent introduction to the fascinating world of rock art. Lauren Roberts
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The Bradshaw Foundation Book Review
|Jean Clottes is a prominent French prehistorian. He was born in the French Pyrénées in 1933 and began to study archaeology in 1959, while teaching high school. He initially focused on Neolithic dolmens, which were the topic of his 1975 Ph.D. thesis at the University of Toulouse. After being appointed director of prehistoric antiquities for the Midi-Pyrénées in 1971, he began to study prehistoric cave art in order to fulfill the responsibilities of that position. In the following years he led a series of excavations of prehistoric sites in the region. In 1992, he was named General Inspector for Archaeology at the French Ministry of Culture; in 1993 he was appointed Scientific Advisor for prehistoric rock art at the French Ministry of Culture. He formally retired in 1999, but remains an active contributor to the field.
To date he has written over 300 scientific papers, and has edited, co-edited, written, or co-authored a total of over 20 books. He has also lectured around the world, taught at the University of Toulouse and the University of California at Berkeley, and engaged in numerous public outreach and professional service activities. He has received several honors from the French government and also from the Blue Tuareg people of the Sahara Desert, who made him an honorary Tuareg in 2007.
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