Chamanes de la préhistoire

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Harry N. Abrams, Sep 1, 1998 - Art - 120 pages
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This startling book reveals a new way of understanding the remarkable images painted or etched on rock walls by the people of prehistory.Noting the similarity of prehistoric rock art with that created by some contemporary traditional societies, archaeologists Jean Clottes and David Lewis-Williams suggest that the ancient images were created by shamans, powerful individuals who were able to contact the spirit world through trance and ritual. In many societies throughout history, shamans have been consulted to try to change the weather, foretell the future, control the movements of animals, and converse with the dead.With an abundance of full-color illustrations, Clottes and Lewis-Williams draw on neuropsychology and ethnography to follow prehistoric shamans into their trance states. The authors shed light on what these rock artists were thinking and how they may have worked. On these pages, Paleolithic art and life are seen in a new and astonishing way.

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The shamans of prehistory: trance and magic in the painted caves

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Since the first report of cave art (at Altamira in 1879), attempts have been made to explain the purpose of the mysterious drawings. Art for art's sake; totemism; hunting, destructive, or fertility ... Read full review


The Art of the Caves and Rock Shelters
One Hundred Years of Searching for Meaning

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About the author (1998)

Jean Clottes is Director of Research for the Chauvet Cave project.

David Lewis-Williams is Professor Emeritus and Senior Mentor in the Rock Art Research Institute, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

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