Article ID: CBB001422585

Mursi Ox Modification in the Lower Omo Valley and the Interpretation of Cattle Rock Art in Ethiopia (2015)


Cattle are a key focus of traditional pastoralist societies in eastern Africa and also figure prominently in the rock art of the region. In both contexts, their cultural and social significance is underscored by colour and decoration. The contemporary Mursi of south-west Ethiopia transform favourite oxen in various ways, including horn alteration, ear cutting and decorative pattern branding. These practices may provide direct insight into cattle portrayal in Ethiopian rock art, where abstract or non-realistic symbols depicted on cattle coats could indicate the modification, alteration or beautification of cattle in prehistoric societies.

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Authors & Contributors
Schwabe, Calvin W.
Gordon, Andrew. H.
Li, Shuxue
Uytven, Raymond van
Animal Studies Group
Burt, Jonathan
Environment and History
Kexue Jishu yu Bianzhengfa (Science, Technology, and Dialectics)
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Brill Academic Publishers
University of Illinois Press
Cambridge University Press
Human-animal relationships
Animals in art
Deleuze, Gilles
Derrida, Jacques
Middle and Near East
South Asia
Neolithic period
16th century
Stone age

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