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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Rock art constitutes a significant cultural testimony, providing insights into the visual imagery of lifeways that are fundamentally different from those of people today. The extant corpus of humanly-made markings on rock is an extraordinary testimony of peoples’ cares, interests, and capacities, preserved thanks to its emplacement on (relatively) durable surfaces. This highly diverse phenomenon, present on many thousands of sites around the globe, to date has only received limited attention from the point of view of aesthetics. In this chapter, the author explores misconceptions of art and aesthetics that have contributed to this gap in research and outlines the value of closely attending to the aesthetic sensibilities and artistic capacities of those who made, and originally appreciated, these remarkable manifestations.

Keywords: Aesthetics and functionality, artistic capacities, hermeneutics, cross-cultural respect, nature of art, cultural appropriation, explanatory value

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