[The Rock Art of Arizona: Art for Life's Sake]
The Rock Art of Arizona: Art for Life's Sake, Ekkehart Malotki
2007, Kiva Publishing, Inc., paper
194 pages, 381 color photos, glossary, bibliography, 10" x 10"
$35.00

From the book ...

With an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 sites spread throughout its canyons, mountains and deserts, the Grand Canyon state of Arizona constitutes one of the premier rock art theaters in the world. Consisting primarily of engraved images (petroglyphs) on sandstone and basalt, but also offering paintings (pictographs) under overhangs, and ground figures (geoglyphs) on the desert pavements, Arizona's rock art truly commands awe and respect. This book, in a comprehensive survey, presents the full gamut of the state's impressive open-air art from its earliest beginnings until more recent manifestations in the historic era.

Though The Rock Art of Arizona contains more than 380 color photographs, over 130 drawings, and numerous charts and maps, it goes beyond the usual bounds of a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book. In addition to describing the various Archaic and post Archaic rock art styles and traditions in the state's fifteen counties, author Ekkehart Malotki focuses on providing insights into what may have compelled Arizona's ancestral artists to produce the imagery and what functions it may have had in their daily lives. At the same time, he acknowledges the severe limitations of scientifically dating the paleoart, the subjective biases involved in stylistic classification, and the ultimate mystery of its meaning. Within the confines of this explanatory framework, drawing primarily on novel ideas derived from the field of evolutionary psychology and the concept of human universals, he argues that rock art, in a broadly defined context of art and ritual, had beneficial adaptive value in the human struggle for survival and thus can truly be perceived as art for life's sake.

Ekkehart Malotki is professor emeritus of languages at Northern Arizona University where he taught German, Latin, and Hopi from 1977 until 2004. For more than twenty-five years, his work as an ethnologist focused on the preservation of the Hopi language and culture. In addition to over a dozen bilingual works on Hopi semantics and oral literature, he has published three children's books based on authentic Hopi stories. For over ten years, he was the principal data contributor to the Hopi Dictionary/Hopiikwa Lavaytutuveni. He also provided the Hopi titles, including that of Koyaanisqatsi, to Godfrey Reggio'smovie trilogy on our destructive behaviour toward this planet. Among his most recent publications are Earth Fire: A Hopi Legend of the Sunset Crater Eruption, Hopi Tales of Destruction, and Kokopelli: The Making of an Icon.

During the last fifteen years, his passion for rock art has taken him to the Sahara, to the paleolithic caves in France, to Italy, Scandinavia and Mexico, and twice to Australia. In addition, he has devoted much of his time to the photography and interpretation of the rock art of the American southwest. Both of his rock art works have received prestigious awards. Tapamveni: The Rock Art Galleries of Petrified Forest and Beyond, co-authored by Patricia McCreery, won an award of excellence from the National Park Service, and Stone Chisel and Yucca Brush: Colorado Plateau Rock Art, co-authored by Donald E. Weaver, was a Benjamin Franklin Award winner.


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