Rock Art Research Paper

1982 Words 8 Pages
To fully understand the concept of rock art one must strip away all of the different and complex meanings placed on the word art by people of European descent. The European idea of art, art for art’s sake, or art whose only purpose is to please the eye, does not always apply to rock art. In many ways rock art is pleasing to the eye, and many tourists are attracted to it for that purpose. However, much rock art is used for a specific purpose or was made during a specific period of time and means much more to the people that created it than an impressionist landscape painting used just for decoration would to a common layperson. Rock art has a higher purpose than just being pleasing to the eye, though in many cases it is aesthetically beautiful. …show more content…
In many non-Western cultures there is no such thing as “art” as “art” implies that a group of artifacts that has “non-utility” and a “special status for disinterested appreciation” (Heyd within Mcdonald & Veth, 283). This is not to imply that rock art is not aesthetically pleasing but that it has a different function in indigenous societies than just looking pretty. Much rock art has a use and is not just meant to be looked at but to tell stories. Thomas Heyd suggests that rock art be viewed “with the same kind of fullness of life experience that is required to perform songs or plays” (M&V 289). Additionally “most humanly made marks on rocks were made by people at a great distance from us, either in terms of time or in terms of cultural continuity with our own forms of life” this means that using a term like “art” to describe rock art does not do justice to the items it is describing (M&V, 289). A Western term cannot fully describe something whose concept it cannot fully understand. For the purpose of this paper, rock art includes petroglyphs and pictographs on natural rock sources that hold meaning for specific groups of

Related Documents