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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access May 12, 2018

The Entrapment of Art: Rock-Art, Order, Subversion, Creativity, Meaning, and the Appeal of Illusive Imagery

  • António Batarda Fernandes EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Archaeology


Bringing together apparently opposing modern and post-modern approaches to interpretation is one of the challenges that lie ahead for rock-art studies. This endeavour may help to surmount ‘no interpretation is possible’ stances (see Bednarik, 2014) and to value rock-art as a diverse and complex phenomenon where precise significance is concealed within multiple meaning-carrying conveyors. The idea that different rock-art traditions (as with any other art form) made use of a given set of symbols (also) aiming to enforce an ‘imagined’ order is instrumental to the present paper. Ancient imagery, despite precise production contexts, materializes the need to resort to visual symbols in order to help maintain social concord, regardless of exact meaning. However, this is a dynamic process; whenever there is an effort to uphold a certain set of moral and social complying principles, there are also nonconformist and subversive attempts to challenge and mutate that same collection of rules.


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Received: 2017-06-01
Accepted: 2017-12-13
Published Online: 2018-05-12

© 2018

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