Visual Art Paper 1, Nov/Dec. 2012  
Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Main
General Comments
Question 7

(a)        Explain the concept of sympathetic magic in pre-historic art.
(b)        Highlight three characteristics of pre-historic cave paintings.



This is another question that was highly avoided by the candidates. Some of the few candidates that attempted it responded appropriately while some, who apparently lacked the understanding of pre-historic art failed to give the responses that could have earned them the obtainable marks. Candidates were expected to highlight some of the following points in their responses:
(a)                    -           a belief that there is a strange relationship between an object
                                    and its image.
                                    -           it is a concept that is peculiar to Palaeolithic paintings.
                                    -           it is a form of magic used for hunting by the early man.
                                    -           it was based on the belief that whatever is done to the image of
                                                the animal drawn is also done to the animal itself.
-           by making images of an animal penetrated by spears, the cave hunters believed that the animal resembling the images would be killed, or that the animal will be rendered vulnerable to being killed by hunting parties.
-           it was an attempt to ensure survival by means of magic under the difficult circumstances of the prehistoric period.


(b)                    -           themes based on hunting.
-           subject matter are wild animals, e.g. bison, horses, eurochs and deers, in narrative scenes.
-           drawings of human were rare and are usually schematic (unnatural).
                                    -           stick-like representation of human form, usually in silhouette
                                    -           techniques employed involved engraving, pecking, super-
                        imposition, superposition, juxtaposition.
-           use of earth colours, e.g. ochre, charcoal, red, grey and browns, human dung, etc.

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