Shamanism and Rock Art in Far Western North America
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Ethnographic data on the production of rock art in far western North America - the historic hunter-gatherer cultures of California and the Great Basin - are reviewed and analyzed to identify widespread patterns in the origin and, in certain cases, symbolism of the late prehistoric/historical parietal art of this region. These data, collected in the first few decades of this century by a variety of ethnographers, suggest two origins for the art: production by shamans; and production by initiates in ritual cults. In both instances, the artists were apparently depicting the culturally-conditioned visions or hallucinations they experienced during altered states of consciousness. The symbolism of two sites, Tulare-19 and Ventura-195, is considered in more detail to demonstrate how beliefs about the supernatural world, and the shaman's relationship to this realm, were graphically portrayed.
Shamanism, Rock Art, Western North America
Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Vol. 2, no. 1 (1992-04-01).
Whitley, David S., "Shamanism and Rock Art in Far Western North America" (1992). KIP Articles. 4708.