14-Maynard 1977

download 14-Maynard 1977

of 16

  • date post

  • Category


  • view

  • download


Embed Size (px)

Transcript of 14-Maynard 1977

  • 7/29/2019 14-Maynard 1977


    LESLEY MA YNARD Classification andterminology in Australian rock art'

    One of the most informative types of rock artstudy used in Australia in recent years has beenquarititative analysis, especially wh en it revealspatterns of various kinds which might not havebeen deduced 'from simple observation of theart. Examples are Edwards' comparison of percentages of motifs at rock engraving sites inSouth and Central Australia (Edwards 1966)and Wright's analysis of proportions of humanfigures among Pilbara engravings (Wright1968). Th e . l l ~ e - ~ f _ _ q l ! : < l ! ! ~ ~ ~ < l ~ ~ e . __ n ~ l } ' s _ i ~ _ ins_tudies is dependent on the same r _ ~ _ g _ ~ ~ ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ s

    ~ r o q ~ f Q L ~ ~ ~ l e ~ ~ - ! ~ ~ ~ - ~ ~ ~ - b ' ? . _tYP?1?gy.})pology is also_ necessary for the useful discussion of those t.inii:S of rOck- a!! wl].ose distriJ:!J!Jjgp. in time _andspace may relate to the ~ s t o r y

    { 9 r _ p ~ ~ 4 i ~ _ t o ~ Y ) O(this art_ in u s ~ r a l i a . It may beeasy to see or state that these units (sometimescalled _-'styles'). consist ()_f ~ ~ T : l e r s of sires _and

    f i g u r ~ S - _ W i l i C l i - r'OsSess- c e r t 3 i ~ - - ~ 0 ~ ~ ? ~ - - _ ; i S - l l a lc ~ a r ' i 1 c t e r t S i i c S , ~ bUtthese -tra-its h a ~ e - ~ 0 _ - b e ~ d e

    ~ ~ : 9 ar1d a n a l y ~ e d so ~ 9 ? _ t the V f . ! l i _ ~ i i : x _qf _ m > ~ r ficial identifiC:ations Can be examined, aP,d C_om

    p a r i s O ~ s - l : i i . - ~ d e - _ h ~ _ r w e ~ n - f i g ~ r e s , ~ - i t ~ $ _ - ~ r . 11n.irs.The need foran agreed nomenclature is also

    b a s i ~ .From the general nature of Australian rock

    art, it.wouldseem.that-a--Simple--ty-p0logy-,---with--asmall number of discrete categories, would beeasy to construct, because the term 'rock art'does label a single phenomenon with a fewsimple subdivisions. Fo r example, among the

    figurative representations found in Australianart, subjects are limited, and their outlines. afeextremely simplified and omit most fine detailsof form (e.g. muscul ature of animals and humanfigures - compare with European palaeolithicand South Mrican Bushman art): Within theoutline, there is almost no presentation of sur-face features, and no use of shading to give an illusion of perspective. Standard presentations ofeach subject are uniform throughout the wholecontinent - e.g. women's breasts are alwaysshown as projections from the sides of the chest.This lack of detail and visual effects cuts downihe number ( Q . i s _ t j _ n ~ ; : ! ! 9 _ I _ l ~ __ ? ~ ~ ~ e _ g _ i _ I l _ ' ! _ ! y _ Q _ _ q l Q g y .In the case of non-figurative art, the number ofgeometric forms which were used in Austraba,and the combinations of basic forms, is reallyvery small when compared wit h, say,South EastAsian folk art. Th e forms-foundin Australianrock ar t are generally siJiipler than ~ h ~ s e foundirr recent and historical port able and' temporaryart made by Aborigines, -sUch as Arnhem Landbaik paintings.

    ~ c ; t i o i _ J . _ Q [ ~ _ t y p o ! o g y j ~ t o _ s t ~ t . e , __in c_learterms, the range of phenomena preseu.t, and atthe same time, to i v i c J . ~ - ~ h _ e _ s . ~ ~ s e r v e d p _ Q ~ n o m :

    ~ - ~ - - ~ - ~ g - - ~ e y _ e _ r a l _ 9 l t ~ g Q r _ i . e s , _ S : ( ) _:th{!JJI . Y I > J ~ r o of

    I. The system of terminology proposed in this paperhad not been critically discussed by any forumcomposed of persons experienced in rock art research prior to the 1974 conference.

  • 7/29/2019 14-Maynard 1977


    V f t ~ i a t i o _ n S ~ _ i t h i n "the -;ange is organised. it is~ C e S S a i Y , of course, that the names_--givefl-l:othese diVisions be unaffibiguolls, well defined,

    llnifCuiDl:Yunderstood and used. Typologiesare not, however, usually designed according tothese impeccable principles, by impartial andperceptive observers. Rather, they grow, likemushrooms, in the dark. In the field of Australian rock art, every worker has used the tenUswhich he likes best to describe that part of the artwhich he has recorded and published. As a-result,there is considerable confusion of terminologyin the literature. For example, certain carvingsfound in South and Central Australia have beenVariously :labelled 'iritaglios' (Davidson 1936:40), 'intagliated engravings' (Mountford 1955:345), 'pecked intaglios' (McCarthy 1967:23-27), 'fulhntaglios' (McCarthy and Macintosh 1962:288), 'rock engravings' (as distinctfrom 'rock poundings') (Mountford 1968:687)and 'petroglyphs or chipped insculpture designs' (Hossfeld 1966:69).Even i f he traits found in Australian rock ar tare few and relatively uniform, if differentwriters use different names for them, the result isinstant complexity. Mter a long period with noco-ordination between the terminologies used todescribe art in different parts of Australia,F. D.McCarthy attempted to set up a standardnomenclature. He opened the question in 1966

    the General-Meeting of the Australian Insti..:t:ute of Aboriginal Studies, and-then: circulatedrwo papers tO -intereSted members of tfie Institute, setting out his own scheme for_an Austr::.tliaWide 'terminOlOgy, arid discussing commentsmade by other archaeologists (McCarthy 1966a and 1966b . The end prOduct of this process wasan article in a Manual whose Introductionstated:

    The material presented here is the consideredopinion ofworkers with considerable field experience, and while it is appreciated thatrecommendations cannot be made bindingupon fieldworkers and that sets of rules can-

    not be laid down, i f the suggestions of thisbook are emulated more objective recordingshould result (Mulvaney 1968:1).The main features of McCarthy's nomencla

    ture were also incorporated into the site cardswhich used to be circulated by the Institute toanyone who discovered or recorded rock art.These cards are still used by the New SouthWales National P3:rks and Wildlife Service in-itsbasic catalogue of Aboriginal sites in that state.This scheme is basically the same set of termswhich McCarthy used earlier (1967) and inmany other publications.I t s_ therefore necesSary to examine Meear thy' s nomenclature and his methodology, inorder to test it for clarity and usefulness. I shallconcentrate on the final version ( 1968), althoughthe preceding, papers sometime;s hdp w showhow the scherl1e has been formulated. McCarthycommenced the article in the Manual by proposing 'major terms' for Australian rock art. Theseare 'engraving' or 'petroglyph' and 'rock painting' or 'cave painting' or 'pictograph'. The restof the article ilnplies a rigid separation of thesetwo basic rypes, which are always discussed sep

    arately.Then follows a definition of style'.'Style' is the term used for the total design orpattern of a figure, whetherit be in outline,Jinear,. solid, or- bear -a -line design. It is the.final composition of the engraved, scratched,abraded,-pecked or. paint'edmarkS with Whicha figure is depicted that is, the manner inWhiCh- the niarks of the techniques are distributed in a figure (McCarthy 1968:125).He next discusses 'Regional Art', e.g. 'theKimberley paintings, western Arnhem Landpaintings and Laura paintings, or the SydneyHawkesbury petroglyphs' ( bid:126), and designates.the term 'type ' to describe these regionalgroups of rock art, in preference to 'style' and'school', which have been suggested by otherwriters.

    Then he describes five 'Petroglyph Techniques': Abraded,_ E n g r a 1 . 1 _ ~ d ~ ~ ~ ~ c z t c b ~ ~ ~ . f - ~ c k _ r ; dand Pecked and Abraded, .irtd liSts Various subheadings under these five terms ( bid: 128): -e.g. 'Abraded: Groove : straight; Groovedoutline : made with finger; Grooved outline :made with implement; Grooved outline + in-ter!.?r surface,: ..' .. ___ . .-.-- ,'RoCk Paintings or Pictographs' are subdivided in two ways - f i r s ~ l y into four techniques: Drawing with dry pigment, Painting,Stencilling, and Paint splattered (by hand orbrush), and secondly into Monochromes,Bichromes and Polychromes. S u b ~ h e a d i n g s arelisted under the latter terms (ibid:13l-32):- e.g.'Monochromes: Stepcil; Spl_an_ered; Imprint(human hand or foot usually); Silhouette; Silhuuerre + slits . . .

    From the context of the discussion in severalparts of his article, and explicit statements in thepreceding papers, it is clear that these subheadings listed under the main divisions ofEngravings and Paintings are McCarthy's'styles', that is, 'silhouette' is a style of painting,in the division Monoc_hrome.Before going on to describe methods ofrecording rock art (with which I am not concerned) McCarthy (ibid:133ff.) suggested anomenclature of 'Linear Designs', e.g. 'Circle,oval, r e c t a n g l ~ , diamond, . . _._striped,. sectioned,

    s p o k t ' ! d ~ "gridded., '. $piral, Meander, Loopeddesign . . . He did not define LinearDesigns' inthe Manual article, but in the second preCeding paper (McCarthy 1966b:6), he used the termlinear 'for non-representational line designsincluding the geometric'.I shall now state my objections to this scheme.Firstly, there is a rigid i v i s i o ~ in all McCarthy'spublications between rock engravings and cavepaintings, which he always discusses separatelyin mutually exclusive sections of his publications. At no stage in the article under discussion does he make comparisons betweenthem, or use the same terms to apply to anal-

  • 7/29/2019 14-Maynard 1977


    ogous forins in the two riiedia, Or in any way 8.dmit that they might be related. For example, afigure which is- represe_nteCt: .by. a - ~ o l i d , con..:tinuous area of engraving or painting is called byMcCarthy '.fully pecked'_ if it is-engraved, and a'silhouette' if it is painted. But obviously both

    c ~ s r i $ display a common artistic intention - tocover the whole surface of the figure with mark-ing:-The lack of con