ID #1252

Thomas River Rock Art Centre, Thomas River Village, Border, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The San or Bushman rock paintings were part of a remarkable religious tradition. The art was not simply decorative or a record of daily life – its purpose was deeper. The trance dance was the central religious ritual of the San (or Bushman). Shamans or medicine people used supernatural power obtained during trance states to make rain, heal the sick or maintain social harmony. Many of the paintings and engravings are depictions of the visions experienced whilst in trance. Others depict occasions or the animals whose powers the shamans hoped to use. The art is also a monument to the San, who tried to retain their rights and land. 

The museum is designed to be as natural as possible and contains a selection of excellent photographs and painted replicas of the paintings, which have been specially selected and displayed to give visitors an introduction to the meaning of rock art which adorns the many shelters formerly occupied by the Bushmen. An excellent display of Early and Late Stone Age tools are also on display.  All visits by prior arrangement.

Why Conserve Rock Art? It is artistically and intellectually sophisticated, the tradition is at least 27000 years old. It is fragile and has already been damaged through ignorance and vandalism, and it can never be repaired or replaced.

o    Do not rub or chip the paintings
o    Keep fire, water and other substances away from the paintings
o    Treat all rock art as artwork and behave accordingly
o    Never remove any parts of rock art from the site

Stutterheim is on the N6 70-km northeast of East London, which is at the intersection of the N6 with the N2. The Thomas River Rock Art Centre is part of Thomas River Historical Village. Travel northeast on the N6 from East London towards Bloemfontein. 100 km from East London and midway between Stutterheim and Cathcart, turn south off the N6 and travel a further 4-km to the Village.

Contct:         Linda or Victor Biggs
+27 (45) 843 1369 telephone

Or                Michelle White-Phillips
+27 (45) 843 1504 telephone
+27 (86) 657 3148 fax
+27 (72) 070 6132 mobile

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Last update: 2014-05-11 03:05
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.4

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