Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa
The San people of southern Africa have created a profound collection of rock paintings. At least 15,000 sites are known in South Africa, many of them hidden among rock shelters in the Drakensberg Mountains, a range extending northward between Durban and Johannesburg in the heart of the Kwazulu-Natal.
The paintings are thought to depict a ritualized interaction between the material and spirit world of San culture. Some of the artwork dates back 27,000 years (Namibia) and others from recent centuries.
By entering a state of trance, Shamans tap into a spiritual world where they harness the power to affect weather, heal sickness, and control the movements of animals. Lasting all night, intense dancing to a rhythm of clapping and drumming induces these trance episodes. The rock paintings present a Shaman’s privileged interpretation of the trance dance and the spirit world to which they are transported.
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