Symbolism of the ibex motif in Negev rock art (ScienceDirect Publication: Journal of Arid Environments)

Publication date: August 2017
Source:Journal of Arid Environments, Volume 143
Author(s): Uzi Avner, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Wayne Horowitz
The male ibex is the dominant zoomorphic motif in rock art of the Negev desert, Israel. It recurs in thousands of petroglyphs, either alone or in association with several recurring images; commonly with dogs or other predators but also with hunters. These associations occur in all chronological phases of Negev rock art, implying that they had an enduring symbolic significance. Here we address only some aspects of ibex iconography, focusing on its association with dogs, hunters and astral symbols. We discuss the possible meaning of these associations with regard to the ritual hunting of ibex and connection to deities associated with rainfall, seasonal cycles and celestial constellations.