Rock art (parietal) | What is it and features

Cave or parietal art is the set of primitive artistic manifestations carried out directly on large stone surfaces (for example on the walls and ceilings of caves or rock shelters). Parietal art is, along with movable art (movable or portable), one of the main categories in which the art of prehistory is classified .

What is rock art and characteristics

Rock art is one of the first and most widespread manifestations of artistic activity with at least 40,000 years old, present throughout the history of humanity in almost the entire planet (except in Antarctica).

Precisely because of the breadth of rock art both in time and geographically, it is difficult to extract other common characteristics beyond its support on large stone surfaces and its universality.

Types of rock art

Rock art can be divided into two large groups depending on the technique used to record motifs on the rock:

  • Pictographies ( cave paintings ) . A pictograph is a graphic record drawn or painted on a stone surface with pigments.
  • Petroglyphs (rock engravings) . A petroglyph is a drawing engraved on a stone surface by scratching, erosion, or percussion with an instrument harder and stronger than the rock on the support.

Rock art themes

The most abundant representations are of animals, symbols and human beings. Unfortunately, its meaning and usefulness is unknown, because at the moment a code has not been found to help interpret these registers and the theories that are being considered are still hypotheses.


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