Collection online

digital photograph

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2013,2034.3840

  • Description

    Digital photograph (colour); view of engraved rock art on a rock face (sandstone) showing an outlined (polished) buffalo upright facing left, curved upturned horns with polished, vertical markings within. Bubalus period. A 10 cm photo scale has been fitted at the bottom of the tableau. Wadi Mathendous, Libya.
    Born digital

    More 

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 07 October 2009
  • Production place

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • File size: 57.4 megabytes
    • Resolution: 300 dots per inch
  • Curator's comments

    Buffaloes are one the most characteristic animals depicted in the older periods of Messak rock art, its scientific denomination used to name the so called Bubalus period. The one depicted in the photograph but follows all the stylistic conventions of the Bubalus, naturalistic style.

    The engraving is located in the Wadi Mathendous area, one of the many dry riverbeds on the southern edge of the Messak Plateau in southwest Libya, near the borders between Algeria and Niger. That plateau, which runs southwest-northeast through the Libyan province of Fezzan, is divided in two by the Tilemsin pass, which defines two smaller plateaus (Settafet to the north and Mellet to the south). Throughout these plateaus, numerous dry riverbeds run to the east into Murzuq erg. Wadi Mathendous is one of the most important rock art sites in the Messak and together with some its tributaries as the Wadi Tilizaghen constitutes the core of the Messak rock art. The sandstone cliffs of these dry riverbeds are full with tens of thousands of rock art engravings –only a few paintings have been located insofar-, mostly depicted in vertical rocks.

    The Messak rock art has been known since Heinrich Barth’s expedition in 1850, although it wasn’t until 1932 when the engravings were systematically studied by Leo Frobenius. In more recent times the area has been extensively studied by Pesce (1969), Graziosi (1970) and Jelinek (1984, 1985). Figures appear both isolated and within complex scenes which include engraved life-size elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, buffaloes and figures which mix human and animal features (therianthropes) along with numerous figures of more modern periods as horses and camels. Most of the engravings belong to the so called Bubalus style, but Tazina, Pastoral; Horse and Camel styles are also well represented. The area is home to some of the oldest engravings in the Sahara desert (around 10,000 years old) and some of the most popular depictions in Saharan rock art, as the “Sparring Cats” or the so-called “Apollo of the Garamantes”.

    More 

  • Location

    Not on display

  • Subjects

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    2013

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number

    2013,2034.3840

  • Additional IDs

    • LIBMES0310021 (TARA number)
Digital photograph (colour); view of engraved rock art on a rock face (sandstone) showing an outlined (polished) buffalo upright facing left, curved upturned horns with polished, vertical markings within. Bubalus period. A 10 cm photo scale has been fitted at the bottom of the tableau. Wadi Mathendous area, Messak Settafet, Fezzan province, Libya. Scanned

Digital photograph (colour); view of engraved rock art on a rock face (sandstone) showing an outlined (polished) buffalo upright facing left, curved upturned horns with polished, vertical markings within. Bubalus period. A 10 cm photo scale has been fitted at the bottom of the tableau. Wadi Mathendous area, Messak Settafet, Fezzan province, Libya. Scanned

Reproduced by permission of the artist. Copyright TARA/ David Coulson

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: EAF135387

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...