161 oval there is a small indeterminate buck in the middle of two partially faded oval blobs, which are surrounded by dots, at the top and the bottom. To the left are two further small indeterminate buck, one facing away from and another towards the sprouting form. Next to the roots is a cross-legged human figure that is clapping in a similar way to the figure in Figure 23. At the top right is a bizarre clawed and thick-tailed creature. Figure 22 (also Frobenius 1963: tafels 43, 56; Goodall 1959: plate 32) depicts a tree with several roots, two thick stems and many branches. Two human figures, one depicted between the stems and another juxtaposed with the roots, suggest a connection between these features and the figures. More importantly, the figure next to the roots adopts a typical arms-back posture and is slightly bending forward. These panels, like the other complex painted contexts I have discussed, suggest the non-ordinary reality of trance and complex symbolism: images do not simply depict material objects. Their peculiar features include: juxtapositions of trees and plants with people, animals enclosed within the cores of termite nest-plant conflations and human figures exhibiting trance diagnostic postures (arms-back, clapping, crossed legs and bending forward). These complexities cannot be explained in narrative terms, but by looking at the San beliefs and symbolism. I therefore draw on the relevant ethnography to elucidate the significance of these motifs.
Trees and plants and their associations in San ethnography Different plants had different magical properties and different uses. In Southern and Northern San ethnographic corpuses trees and plants feature prominently as
Published on Dec 31, 2001
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand,Johannesburg, for the degree of Master of Arts. 2002, by Siyakha...