Africa’s Vanishing Art: Rocks and Paintings of Tanzania

By Mary Leakey


The Tazanian rock paintings, perhaps initiated as far back as 29,000 years ago are clear and fascinating portrayals of human life in the Stone Age.

The artists drew hunting scenes depicting lions and elephants, they showed rhinoceroses pursuing each other in courtship people bathing, even tribesmen arguing over a young girl. Sadly, the art of these Tanzanian rock shelters is vanishing fast. Rain and wind have taken their toll, aided by vandalism. But a lasting record remains, created by Mary Leakey who, with her husband Louis, in the early 1950s, painstakingly traced the paintings of 186 rock shelters and then recreated the paintings of 18 rock shelters and then recreated the paintings in their original colours. A selection of these unique works of art is published here for the first time, with detailed captions by Mary Leakey, giving the background to each painting and explaining its significance in terms of our present knowledge of prehistoric man.

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