Cover image for World rock art
World rock art
Clottes, Jean.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Musée des roches. English
Publication Information:
Los Angeles : Getty Conservation Institute, [2002]

Physical Description:
140 pages : color illustrations, color map ; 26 cm.
A mysterious art -- A world of images -- Four hundred centuries of rock art -- How was it made? -- The diversity of themes -- Interpretation and meaning -- An endangered heritage.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N5310 .C5813 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Although cave paintings from the European Ice Age have has gained considerable renown, for many people the term "rock art" remains full of mystery. Yet it refers to perhaps the oldest form of artistic endeavor, splendid examples of which exist on all continents and from all eras. Rock art stretches in time from about forty thousand to less than forty years ago and can be found from the Arctic Circle to the tip of South America, from the caves of southern France to the American Southwest. It includes animal and human figures, complex geometrical forms, and myriad mysterious markings.

Illustrated in color throughout, this book provides an engaging overview of rock art worldwide. An introductory chapter discusses the discovery of rock art by the West and the importance of landscape and ritual. Subsequent chapters survey rock art sites throughout the world, explaining how the art can be dated and how it was made. The book then explores the meaning of these often enigmatic images, including the complex role they played in traditional societies. A final chapter looks at the threats posed to rock art today by development, tourism, pollution, and other dangers, and discusses current initiatives to preserve this remarkable heritage.

Author Notes

Jean Clottes, author of more than fifteen books on prehistory, is one of the world's leading authorities on rock art

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Not art in the modern sense of aesthetic objects, rock art--that is, any drawing made on a stone surface by painting, engraving, or sculpting--is nevertheless the oldest expression of the artistic impulse. Found all over the world, it spans a time period from approximately 50,000 years ago up into the second half of the twentieth century. Clottes is a leading authority on rock art, and this accessible and beautifully produced volume covers sites in Africa, Australia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, China, and Oceania, including such well-known jewels as the Hall of Bulls in Lascaux, France, and many less-familiar wonders. Clottes' topics range from the relationship of rock art to its location to the techniques used in its creation, the choice of sites, rock art images, and the challenges and methodology of rock art preservation. Clottes' commentary is clear, concise, and compelling, and the photographs are glorious, making this an excellent introduction to the fascinating world of rock art. --Lauren Roberts

Table of Contents

A Mysterious Artp. 1
A World of Imagesp. 17
Four Hundred Centuries of Rock Artp. 37
How Was It Made?p. 57
The Diversity of Themesp. 79
Interpretation and Meaningp. 101
An Endangered Heritagep. 121
Bibliographyp. 138
Acknowledgmentsp. 140