Digital George Stow
Institution : Iziko (no number assigned)
Size : 1016mm x675mm
Description : The painting is roughly divided into two horizontal lines of figures of mixed description: there are eleven figures in the top half and twenty figures in the bottom half: thirty-one figures in all. The figures are clothed in a variety of skins, cloaks or karosses, some appear to be in the form of animals (they have winged arms, horned or eared heads, animal faces etc) and most are patterned with spots and other markings, especially those in the lower half the painting. Some hold sticks and other objects, some have raised arms, one figure lies down, one holds a thong or similar object. There are two animals that resemble antelope, with patterns on their bodies. Zigzags are drawn in between some of the figures (emerging from their bodies) and on the larger of the antelope, as well as in the surrounding spaces. Some sticks or lines fly through the air and a small group of white dots appears in the top right of the painting. Some patterned or plant-like forms also appear. What appears to be a small tortoise appears in the top right segment of the painting. "From precipitous Glen near Bursheba [?] discovered by Mr Chat[?] Sir Orpen O.F.S. Copied by G.W.S." [Two joined halves.]
Verso : "D4 Basutoland" "107"
Description in published source : SMITHFIELD DISTRICT This district lies north of Rouxville district across the Caledon River. Most of the land is flat and sandy, but along the river are low hills and rocks. “PLATE 58
LOCALITY. – From precipitous glen near Beersheba.
SITE. – There are two painted caves in the glen on Beerhseba through which the Vindel Spruit runs down to the Caledon River, but the original of this copy is not in either; it is in the Bloemfontein Museum. Mrs. van der Merwe, the mistress of Beersheba, whose father purchased the place from French missionaries in 1858, remembers Mr. C.S. Orpen often visiting her home in her childhood. He collected fossils and also cut out paintings. Stow has written on this picture: ‘Discovered by Chas. Sirr Orpen, copied by G.W.S.’
DESCRIPTION. – The two slabs in the Museum contain nearly all the figures shown here very much faded; the bottom of the lower line has been cut away.
EXPLANATION BY BUSHMEN. – ‘Frog. Thought to be a girl who ate what she should not and was changed into a frog. Her people go to her. The rain is below, a black rain. It has killed the people. The girl ate touken, she displeased it. The arrows become reeds and stay the spring, the sticks become bushes and are at the spring (house sticks I believe).’ This is an allusion to ‘The Girl’s Story’ in
Published : "Rock Paintings in SA" plate 58