Stacks Image 153
Print No #27

Sandawe Bushman Theiranthropes


Part-human/part-animal figures called “therianthropes” are common in the paintings of the southern San. According to David Lewis-Williams, they represent shamans “fusing” with potent “rain animals” during trance. One the shamans transform into these Mary Leakey reports what she referred to as “anthropomorphic” (therianthropic) figures at only two sites. However, archaeologist John Cavallo found that her book shows they are present at ten sites. This print shows a sampling of some of these creatures in different stages of transition. For example, from the Kundusi 2 rock shelter, is a tiny, slender, standing individual that has the head of an antelope or giraffe and a very long thin line for a tail. Then there are three individuals also from the Chora 3 rock shelter with Leakey’s Bushmen style bodies and monkey-like tails. One of them appears to be holding a bow or curved stick. At this time, more research is needed to understand some of these unusual beings.
(From M.D. Leakey, 1983. Redrawn by J.A. Cavallo).