- The Bradshaw Foundation
“Hand paintings are depicted in Rock Art around the world. The hand image would have been created in a variety of ways: the artist may have used the hand on the rock as a stencil, spraying paint from the mouth or charcoal powder through a reed; the outline of the hand may have been painted around by brush; or simply painting the hand and then placing it on the rock. The hand paintings were created by men, women and children. What ever the method, and what ever the style of accompanying art, hand paintings are one of the most common elements of rock art.
But what of their meaning? Was this the signature of the artist, confirming both his or her work as well as his or her self-awareness? Was it the artist, or shaman, touching the the rock surface in order to acknowledge and therefore enter the spirit world, known as the ‘sealing’ ritual? Where there is a spiral incorporated into the motif, as at La Cienega and Three Rivers for example, they may be depictions of healing energy that channels through the hands - the ancient practice of Reiki. There might have been a metaphorical link between the ‘spraying on of paint’ with the ‘spraying on of medicine’ by the shaman.
Given that the images exist around the world, and cover a great time span, clearly there must be a variety of meanings. For all of the hypotheses, hand painting and the ‘hand’ motif could have represented any number of rituals, but without knowledgeable informants from a particular culture, hypotheses they must remain” (read more).
- First row: France
- Second row: Horseshoe, USA
- Third row: La Trinidad Baja, USA
- Fourth row: Helen Mountain, Inner Mongolia
- Fifth row left: Australia
- Fifth row right: Argentina
- Sixth row: Vallegrande, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
- Seventh row: Borneo
- Eight row: Borneo
- Ninth row: Cosquer, France
(Source: The Bradshaw Foundation, British Museum)
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Living the dream.