Digital George Stow
Institution : Iziko (no number assigned)
Size : 689mmx502mm
Description : Five ostrich and one figure of mixed description (carrying bow and wearing ostrich). "From Rocks in the Wittebergen Colonial Native Reserve"
Verso : "91"
Description in published source : "HERSCHEL DISTRICT
This district, lying between the Witte Bergen and the Orange River, is a Native Reserve. As it is mountainous and not easily accessible, and the only copy made there has a very vague
Inscription, I did not attempt to traverse the place.
LOCALITY.- From rocks in the Witte Bergen, Colonial Native Reserve.
SITE.- Not found. I corresponded with Miss Stow, a daughter of G.W. Stow’s on the subject and she told me she remembered having been with her father as a small child when he heard of a wonderful painting of ostriches, but she had no idea of the locality. He sent his head-man out scouting. ‘The man returned to where we were camped greatly excited to say that a little Bushman had shown him the cave, that the painting was “very good”, of ostriches, and I remember his stooping attitude to show a hunter in disguise.’
The cave was high up and almost inaccessible, but the Bushman showed the way, a cleft rock was scaled with the help of ropes and crowbars, and the painting reached was to great joy of Mr. Stow.
EXPLANATION.- A Bushman said of the picture, ‘Ostriches, three black males, two blue females. The 'nusa Bushmen, not the “kham Bushmen, are said to hunt in ostrich skins’.
In his book Stow says, ‘A number of disguises were constantly employed by the old Bushmen hunters to facilitate approach to the objects of their attack. When taking the field against the elephant, the hippopotamus or rhinoceros, they appeared with the head and hide of a hartebeest over their shoulders, and whilst advancing towards their quarry through the long grass would carefully mimic all the actions of the animal they wishes to represent.
They appeared again in the spoils of a blesbok, with the head and wings of a vulture, the striped hide of a zebra, or they might be seen stalking in the guise of an ostrich.’
Dimensions: 14 x 26 inches." (Bleek)
Published : "Rock Paintings in SA" plate 21