It seems that man has always wanted to express himself with drawings. Early man often used stones to peck on rocks as well as paint to leave his messages. He recorded ceremonies, hunts, dreams, maps, animals and daily life. Just to clarify the terms: ‘pictograph’ is anything depicted on a stone surface – carved, pecked or painted. ‘Petroglyph’ is the technical word for anything carved or pecked.
I’ve always been fascinated by pictographs. And I take photographs of the images whenever I am fortunate to find them. Hopi, Pueblo, Paiute Navajo and Anasazi have left drawings on rocks all over the Southwest. It is great to live in this area of pictorial wealth!
I just came across William Michael Stokes and William Lee Stokes book “Messages on Stone – Selections of Native Western Rock Art “. The images are divided into types – Apparel and Adornment, Birds, The Corn Maidens, Design, etc. Great little book for kids and adults! It is pretty easy to find a real pictograph, match it in type and figure out what the original person was trying to communicate.
One reason we have so many available to us is because of desert varnish. Desert Varnish is a natural protective coating that covers most exposed surfaces. Minerals (usually iron and manganese) build up and create a thin layer that becomes darker and harder with age. When the artist pecked out his design on rock, he exposed the rock below the varnish and the contrast of light and dark enhanced his message. The new varnish would never be as dark as the old. The varnished surface is almost indestructible. Unfortunately, modern man often leaves graffiti in his wake destroying the original works.
I think the preservation of the pictographs is important to our culture and to our history. They are a strong link to our past.
|Ceremonial site in Tanzania|
When we were in Tanzania, our guide took us to an ancient ceremonial site where I took photosgraphs of the pictographs and of a rock that was used as a drum. Notice how the rock drum is covered with designs that were pecked in its surface as it called the people to meet. Australia is on my list to see the pictographs there.
|Rock Drum in Tanzania|
My greeting cards depict Southwest Images on my etsy site www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign. You might be interested in seeing them. I also incorporate pictograph images on my jewelry.