Sunday, January 24, 2010


A giraffe depicted on the walls of Inanke has been called the finest animal painting in Zimbabwe. It's just one of the many treasures found in the Inanke cave.
Fundamental to San beliefs is the concept of "potency," a measure of spiritual essence that is represented in the paintings by the stippled ovals from which the giant rises. While possibly related to beehives prized by the San, these intricately crafted shapes are largely abstract evocations of spiritual forces unifying all of nature. Scattered across the frieze and clustered at the center of Inanke, they suggest a huge reservoir representing an entire community's potency and its integration with the bounteous wildlife thronging around and over it. The dense, overlapping paintings of Inanke probably accumulated over centuries, if not millennia, and do not constitute a continuous narrative in the sense of Western art; yet their very longevity and diversity make them especially compelling expressions of San cosmology. As Mr. Garlake wrote: "For visitors able to reach Inanke, the reward is unsurpassed."

Check out the following to see the images:

Source: The Wall Street Journal (23 January 2010)


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