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.


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

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