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A Reflection on some rock art traditions of large-sized camels in western Arabia

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Abstract

Rock Art is undoubtedly one of the most impressive testimony left by the ancient inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula who decorated the desert rocks with innumerable drawings for millennia. While the study of this rich heritage is still in its early stage, the present paper would like to draw attention on the existence of a remarkable habit attested in the whole western half of the Peninsula which consists in the representation of large-sized figures of the most characteristic animal species of Arabia, the dromedary camel. Life-sized, sometime larger-than-life, drawings of camels have indeed been reported from the Najrān area until to that of Petra in southern Jordan. Although they might share a common cultural substratum, these different figures are clearly not forming a homogenous group. They rather belong to a number of different regional rock art traditions which the present paper would like to define in studying their stylistic features and technical treatments and taking into account the epigraphic documents which occasionally accompany them and provide us information about the artists’ cultural background. Such a study may have important implications after the recent and intriguing discovery of large-sized reliefs of camelids at the so-called “Camel Site” in the al-Jawf province, northern Saudi Arabia.
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Dates and versions

hal-03926144 , version 1 (06-01-2023)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-03926144 , version 1

Cite

Guillaume Charloux, Jérôme Norris, Maria Guagnin. A Reflection on some rock art traditions of large-sized camels in western Arabia. Seminar for Arabian Studies 2019, University of Leiden, Jul 2019, Leiden (NL), Netherlands. ⟨hal-03926144⟩
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