XI
BUSHMAN ART

The yellow-skinned Bushmen to-day number only a few thousand, and live in the most uninviting parts of South Africa. They are not negroes, but they are now partially intermingled with a negro strain. They are a race apart, with their own form of primitive culture, and their own language split up into various dialects. Physically they are unique--strikingly small, even dwarf-like. They are the oldest known natives of South Africa, and were probably the aborigines.

Exactly when the Bushmen made their appearance there, and how far their history dates back, remains a mystery. It is not even certain if it was their ancestors who were responsible for the palæolithic instruments which have been found at various prehistoric sites in the country. The Bushmen were driven back into the desert areas, not only by the white man, but also by the Hottentot invaders. The Hottentots are also a yellow-skinned race, so closely resembling the Bushmen that, according to C.G. Seligman, "it is inadvisable to separate them." There remains, however, an enormous difference between their artistic achievements. None of any consequence can be attributed to the Hottentots, but the old Bushmen have to their credit some of the finest examples of primitive art--in fact one of the most important "schools" of art in the world. 46

To-day the artistic production of the Bushman is negligible. It consists largely of rather crude geometric engravings on ostrich eggs. For this reason some anthropologists are of the opinion that the so-called Bushman art cannot be the work of the Bushmen race. Professor von Luschan suggests that the Bushman pictures may have some con-

-85-

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Primitive Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Pelican Books 1
  • Title Page 5
  • Foreword 7
  • Contents 9
  • Illustrations 10
  • II- Characteristics of Primitive Art 21
  • III- Utilitarian Art and "L''Art Pour'' L''Art" 33
  • IV- Primitive Religion 37
  • V- Primitive Art and Psychoanalysis 49
  • VI- Social Implications 53
  • VIII- Children''s Art 65
  • X- Northern Africa 79
  • XI- Bushman Art 85
  • XVII- Primitive Art and the European Artist 141
  • XVIII- European Art and the Primitive Artist 147
  • Notes 151
  • Index 158
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