Places ofPeace and PowerPeace and Power

Spitzkoppe Cave Paintings

Spitzkoppe rock painting
Spitzkoppe rock painting site (Enlarge)

The Spitzkoppe (German for "pointed dome" and also referred to as the Matterhorn of Namibia) is a group of bald granite peaks located between Usakos and Swakopmund in the Namib Desert of Namibia. The granite peaks are more than 120 million years old and the highest outcrop rises 5853 feet (1784 meters) above sea level. The peaks stand out dramatically from the flat surrounding plains.

Spitzkoppe rock painting
Spitzkoppe rock painting site (Enlarge)

Many examples of Bushman cave paintings (at least 37 have so far been discovered) can be seen in the Spitzkoppe area and they are believed to date back 2000-4000 years. The bulk of them are within Bushman's Paradise, considered one of the finest collections of rock art in Namibia. This cave has been known to Europeans since the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately some of these paintings today are badly damaged due to vandalism. The bushman rock paintings at paradise cave were proclaimed a national monument in July, 1954.

Spitzkoppe rock painting
  Spitzkoppe rock painting with zebra and human figures (Enlarge)


Spitzkoppe rock painting
  Rhinoceros rock painting at Spitzkoppe (Enlarge)


Spitzkoppe rock painting
  A rock painting at Spitzkoppe that may represent a shaman
in trance communicating with an animal spirit (Enlarge)


Spitzkoppe rock painting
  Rock formations at Spitzkoppe (Enlarge)


Spitzkoppe rock painting
  Rock formations at Spitzkoppe (Enlarge)

Author's note: It is inaccurate and misleading to describe and label the rock paintings and etchings in caves strewn across the vast region of southern Africa as 'rock art' for two reasons. One, while the paintings and etchings were often done with varying degrees of artistic ability, their purpose was not artistic but rather shamanic, ceremonial and therapeutic. Two, while the paintings and etchings did indeed have various shamanic, ceremonial and therapeutic functions, they are better understood to be markers of specific geographic places of power, spirit and energy. That is what is most important; whatever the (supposed) meaning of the paintings and etchings, their geographic locations are primary while the human artifacts are secondary.

For additional information consult:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spitzkoppe
http://www.namibweb.com/bushmansparadisecave.htm
https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Spitzkoppe




Spitzkoppe, Namibia