Les boeufs africains à cornes déformées : quelques éléments de réflexion


fr Anthropozoologica 39 (1) - Pages 335-342

Published on 30 July 2004

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animal domestications: social and symbolic dimensions. Homage to Jacques Cauvin

African cattle with deformed horns : some thoughts

Cattle play an important role in many cultures, prehistoric as well as contemporary. Horns represent an important symbol, in the past as well as for present-day pastoral populations. In East Africa the pre-eminent role of cattle is evident in rock art as well as in the frequent presence of bucrania. From prehistory onward, horns have displayed various deformations of anthropogenic/human origin, the meaning of which is still unclear. Many prehistoric and present-day examples indicate a long tradition which illustrates the close relation of the pastoralist with his cattle and the role which these animals hold in his mental universe.

Keywords :

Africa, prehistory, cattle, rock art, bucrania, deformations.

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