The Bradshaw Foundation : Glossary of Terms & Definitions

Glossary of Terms & Definitions | S


Sandawe A group of people living in central Tanzania who practiced, until recent years, a foraging economy, and still speak a click language distantly related to Khoisan. They believe their ancestors painted on the rocks.
shaman A term used by anthropologists to describe a person who, by entering a trance state, can communicate with supernatural beings to heal, bring rain, and determine the future. A religious practitioner of an animistically oriented belief system in which natural phenomena and objects have souls and spirits. As a mediator between the sacred and the profane, the shaman is thought to have direct access to the spirit world through trance or altered states of consciousness.
site A location where associated archaeological remains occur. Thus, a rock art site may consist of a single rock shelter containing one or more paintings or engravings, or such images occurring more or less continuously on exposed rock over a considerable area.
skeletonization Depiction of anthropomorphic figures in X-ray fashion, that is, with stylized bones and/or organs; may symbolically relate to the death-and-resurrection experience of the trancing shaman.
solarisation Emanation of radial lines from circular objects, especially human heads; rayed head projections may symbolize somatic hallucinations experienced in trance.
Solutrean An Upper Palaeolithic culture found mainly in France and Spain from about 23,000 to 18,000 years ago, a period of particularly severe conditions.
species A subdivision of a genus considered as a basic biological classification and containing individuals that resemble one another and may interbreed.
speleology The exploration and study of deep caves. The scientific study of caves and the cave environment.
spelunker A person who explores caves or is interested in caving.
spirit-helper A shaman's supernatural assistant, tutelary, or guide, often in the guise of an animal, obtained during a vision quest.
stick figure An anthropomorphic or zoomorphic motif in which body parts are depicted as single lines.
style a standard classification defined by common techniques and attributes, including the range of subjects depicted, the way those subjects are illustrated, and the manner in which the basic elements are combined and organized into compositions. Styles are geographically localized, temporally limited, and generally refer to art of a single cultural entity.
Sundaland A biogeographical region of Southeastern Asia that comprises the Malay Peninsula and Maritime Southeast Asia islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo and surrounding smaller islands.
superimposition The (normally deliberate) painting or engraving of a new image over an existing image. This does not include reworking, retouching, or repainting an existing image without altering its original form.
sympathetic magic Strategy for success that assumes that an action performed on a substitute or image will produce the same effect on the real thing; in rock art, depiction of a desired event in order to make it actually happen.
synecdoche A part representing the whole, for example, tusks representing a mammoth.
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