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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the rock art traditions of Northern, Central, and Western Asia, first providing an overview of the chronological-cultural context of much of the known rock art in Northern and Central Asia before describing the main geographical concentrations of rock paintings and petroglyphs in the area. In particular, it examines the dilemmas with regards to ascertaining the age of ‘Stone Age’ rock art, along with the presence of chariots in rock art as an iconographic determinant of the Bronze Age. It also considers the association of the Bronze Age with the expansion of Indo-Iranians, expansion of Buddhism through Central Asia as reflected in the rock art, relation of Siberian rock art to shamanism, and major rock art regions of Northern and Central Asia. It concludes by assessing the rock art of Western Asia and how the advent of Islam in mid–seventh century ad changed Arabian traditions of rock art.

Keywords: rock art, Northern Asia, Central Asia, Western Asia, rock paintings, petroglyphs, Indo-Iranians, Siberia, Buddhism, Islam

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