Stacks Image 153
Print No #28

A So-Called “Abduction Scene”

This print shows an unusual group of five figures from the Kolo 1 rock shelter in Kondoa. According to Fidelis Masao and Mary Leakey, the scene shows the “abduction” of a human female by four males. The two individuals on the left with football-shaped heads are apparently males, one of whom is holding on to the central figure who appears to be a female. The individuals on the right side of this tug-of-war are represented by one male whose head resembles a giraffe. The other male’s flat, unusually shaped head and odd neck are also more similar to an animal than a human. Although Mary Leakey claims the two individuals on the right might be wearing masks, based on the shamanistic model, the four males more probably represent shamans in trance that have transformed into part-human, part-animal beings called “therianthropes.” Two of them have their hands on the central female possibly to ward off or cure illness or perhaps to insure her fertility. Since the giraffe was apparently the most powerful and potent spirit animal to Sandawe Bushman shamans, the giraffe therianthrope with an erection is possibly signifying the fertility aspect of this grouping.
(From M.D. Leakey, 1983 by J.A. Cavallo).