Dr Mohammad Naserifard, archaeologist, explores the prehistoric rock art of Iran
eland for the San in what is now known as South Africa. The ibex would have been a source of meat and secondary products such as horn and hide. Archaeological evidence shows that it was hunted in Iran from the Middle Paleolithic period onwards, at the Warwasi and Yāfte Cave (ca. 38,000-29,000 B.C.E.) sites where it was the dominant species represented. Studies of horn cores from the early Neolithic sites of Tappe ʿAli Koš and Tappe Sabz indicate that ibex were being hunted in the late 8th and 7th millennia B.C.E.
The symbolic and/or religious significance of the ibex in pre-Islamic Iran is unclear, although some argue that it was integral to a pre-Islamic creation narrative. According to the Zoroastrian – ‘Zarathusti’ in Persian - cosmogony, ‘Mashya and Mashyana’, or ‘mašyā and mašyānē’, were the first man and woman whose procreation gave rise to the human race. According to Mohammad Naserifard [pictured], it was the ibex that was chosen as the symbol of divine assistance. With the ibex carvings in the rock art sites of ancient Persia, this may have represented an over-riding belief in, and request for, the provision of water, the guarantee of fertility and birth, and a Divine - ‘hu’ - blessing and protection.
→ Middle East Rock Art Archive
→ Middle East Rock Art Introduction
→ Camel Site in Saudi Arabia
→ Rock Art of Saudi Arabia
→ Saudi Arabia Rock Art Gallery
→ Rock Art of Iran
→ Negev Rock Art
→ Ancient Geometry: Writing Systems, Art, Mathematics
→ Rock Art of Hajar Mountains - United Arab Emirates
→ Bradshaw Foundation
→ Rock Art Network