- Museum number
Digital photograph (colour); view of painted rock art showing three slender figures with elongated bodies facing right. The figures’ bodies are decorated with vertical lines and grid patterns. Their heads show elaborate curved feather-like headdresses. Kolo 1, Tanzania.
- Production date
August 1993 (original photograph)
01 January 2000 (date digitized)
File size: 120 megabytes
Resolution: 300 dots per inch
- Curator's comments
See also 2013,2034.16846 and 16847.
The sites at Kolo are the most famous of the Kondoa paintings. Kolo comprises three rock art sites, known as Kolo 1, 2 and 3. The renowned palaeontologist Mary Leakey surveyed and documented many of the paintings at Kolo in the 1950s. Among the animals depicted are elephants, giraffes, antelopes, eland, rhinoceros and wildebeest; while human figures are represented as slender and elongated often with elaborate hairstyles or headdresses, holding bows and arrows. Groups of figures are also shown bent at the waist, with some appearing to take on animal characteristics. These paintings have been associated with Sandawe cultural beliefs.
Containing some of the densest concentrations of rock art in East Africa, Tanzania includes many different styles and periods of rock art, the earliest of which may date back more than 7,000 years. Consisting mainly of paintings, rock art is found predominantly in the Kondoa region and the adjoining Lake Eyasi basin; those at Kondoa were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006.
The existence of painted rock art was first reported in 1908 by missionaries. However, the first systematic examinations date back to between the 1930ss to 1950s by the renowned paleoanthropologists Mary and Louis Leakey (having noted many sites in the 1920s), documenting over 1600 painted images at 186 sites north of Kondoa.
Scholars have classified the rock art in Tanzania into three main stylistic groups: Hunter-Gatherer, also known as Sandawe; Pastoral; and Late Whites. Hunter-Gatherer or Sandawe rock art is characterised by fine-line paintings of animals, human figures, handprints and circular designs. These are the earliest paintings, thought to date to possibly more than 7,000 years ago. Pastoral rock art, dating back up to 3,000 years ago, yields many fewer paintings and generally depicts cattle in profile, and sometimes sheep and/or goats, a few dogs and figures holding sticks and bows. Late White paintings are crude, finger painted geometric and animal images made by Bantu language, iron-working farmers who moved into the region in the last 300-500 years.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: TANKON003059 (TARA number)