Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Almighty Giraffe of Dabous

For those who wondered...there were 8 Sophies in the previoux pix... ^__^

As you already know....Giraffes are such astonishing creatures, they have inspired many people, artist and craftmen for a long time.

And I just learned something very exciting:  the oldest Giraffe art can be found in the Ténéré Desert in the heart of the Sahara. "Ténéré"comes from the Tuareg language and literally translated as ‘where there is nothing’.The region was not always a desert though. Million years ago it was a sea floor and later a tropical forest,then it became a fertile land inhabited by modern humans, and about 10,000 years ago, ancient hunters, the Kiffian people also called People of the Green Sahara, created rock engravings and paintings that can still be found across the region. One amazing engraving is found in Dabous in Niger.There two life-size giraffe are carved in stone. They were first recorded as recently as 1987 by Christian Dupuy. This is not sooo long ago!

I know you have 2 main questions that-if not answered- will make your sleep impossible

So let me quote the researchers to appease your mind ^__^:

question1 :
Why were giraffe chosen to adorn the outcrop? The selection is important - the carvings cannot be seen from the ground, but only by climbing onto the outcrop. Moreover, the area that was used - the stone canvas - had been prepared for the carvings.question 2:
Was it because these tall and graceful animals were perceived by a palaeolithic society as especially impressive: chimeric figures, with the face of a camel and the spots of a leopard, markings that had been portrayed with such attention to detail in the carvings; animals with a speed and ferociousness in self-defence that belied their unhurried gait? There is no other animal like a giraffe.

Or, perhaps their unique attribute resided in their unusually large eyes which may have attracted the attention of ancient cultures. The giraffes’ ability to see great distances, beyond scent or sound, would not have gone unnoticed, and may have become a metaphor for foresight and prediction.

David Coulson chairman of the Trust for African Rock Art says. 'We've been all over Africa, and the giraffe appears to dominate the art in most areas of the continent. It was an incredibly important animal for so many apparently unrelated cultures.' The Niger Sahara giraffe and its smaller companion both have a line coming out from the nose and terminating in the form of a tiny man. A painting found in South Africa depicts a giraffe with its head above the clouds and rain falling upon it. A painting in Namibia shows a giraffe's head and neck emerging from a cloud. A painting in Algeria depicts a tiny giraffe with a long neck like a tornado going into a cloud. An engraving in Libya shmws a man copulating with a giraffe. Another shows a man feeding the giraffe. 'Whatever it was, the giraffe was thought to be possessed of special powers,' Coulson says.

Giraffes are amazing creatures, arent' they? They have always had the power to charm us, humans. Sophie Hagirafa has a heavy heritage to follow. I think she is doing quite well... and until we can see Dabous Giraffes with our own eyes, we can dream about them with our Sophie!

Thank you Dan!

No comments:

Post a Comment