Official 23 Passage 2


Rock Art of the Australian Aborigines


The word "infrequent" in the passage is closest in meaning to

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正确答案: B

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  • Ever since Europeans first explored Australia, people have been trying to understand the ancient rock drawings and carvings created by the Aborigines, the original inhabitants of the continent. Early in the nineteenth century, encounters with Aboriginal rock art tended to be infrequent and open to speculative interpretation, but since the late nineteenth century, awareness of the extent and variety of Australian rock art has been growing. In the latter decades of the twentieth century there were intensified efforts to understand and record the abundance of Australian rock art.

    The systematic study of this art is a relatively new discipline in Australia. Over the past four decades new discoveries have steadily added to the body of knowledge. The most significant data have come from a concentration on three major questions. First, what is the age of Australian rock art? Second, what is its stylistic organization and is it possible to discern a sequence or a pattern of development between styles? Third, is it possible to interpret accurately the subject matter of ancient rock art, bringing to bear all available archaeological techniques and the knowledge of present-day Aboriginal informants?

    The age of Australia`s rock art is constantly being revised, and earlier datings have been proposed as the result of new discoveries. Currently, reliable scientific evidence dates the earliest creation of art on rock surfaces in Australia to somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 years ago. This in itself is an almost incomprehensible span of generations, and one that makes Australia`s rock art the oldest continuous art tradition in the world.

    Although the remarkable antiquity of Australia`s rock art is now established, the sequences and meanings of its images have been widely debated. Since the mid-1970s a reasonably stable picture has formed of the organization of Australian rock art. In order to create a sense of structure to this picture, researchers have relied on a distinction that still underlies the forms of much indigenous visual culture-a distinction between geometric and figurative elements. Simple geometric repeated patterns-circles, concentric circles, and lines-constitute the iconography (characteristic images) of the earliest rock-art sites found across Australia. The frequency with which certain simple motifs appear in these oldest sites has led rock-art researchers to adopt a descriptive term-the Panaramitee style-a label which takes its name from the extensive rock pavements at Panaramitee North in desert South Australia, which are covered with motifs pecked into the surface. Certain features of these engravings lead to the conclusion that they are of great age-geological changes had clearly happened after the designs had been made and local Aboriginal informants, when first questioned about them, seemed to know nothing of their origins. Furthermore, the designs were covered with "desert varnish," a glaze that develops on rock surfaces over thousands of years of exposure to the elements. The simple motifs found at Panaramitee are common to many rock-art sites across Australia. Indeed, sites with engravings of geometric shapes are also to be found on the island of Tasmania, which was separated from the mainland of the continent some 10,000 years ago.

    In the 1970s, when the study of Australian archaeology was in an exciting phase of development, with the great antiquity of rock art becoming clear, Lesley Maynard, the archaeologist who coined the phrase "Panaramitee style," suggested that a sequence could be determined for Australian rock art in which a geometric style gave way to a simple figurative style (outlines of figures and animals), followed by a range of complex figurative styles that, unlike the pan-Australian geometric tradition, tended to much greater regional diversity. While accepting that this sequence fits the archaeological profile of those sites, which were occupied continuously over many thousands of years, a number of writers have warned that the underlying assumption of such a sequence-a development from the simple and the geometric to the complex and naturalistic-obscures the cultural continuities in Aboriginal Australia in which geometric symbolism remains fundamentally important. In this context the simplicity of a geometric motif may be more apparent than real. Motifs of seeming simplicity can encode complex meanings in Aboriginal Australia. And has not twentieth-century art shown that naturalism does not necessarily follow abstraction in some kind of predetermined sequence?

  • 自从欧洲人第一次探索澳大利亚,人们就一直试图了解那些远古的岩画和洞穴,它们由土著居民也就是这片大陆的原始居民创造。 在十九世纪早期,遇到的岩石艺术品还比较少,大多是猜测性的解释,但是到了十九世纪晚期,对这些岩石艺术的范围和多样性的认识提高了。 在随后二十世纪的几十年里,更多的努力放到了理解和记录澳大利亚岩画的丰富性上。

    系统地研究这些岩石艺术是澳大利亚一门相当新的学科。 在过去四十年里新的发现不断添加到这门知识体系中。 最重要的数据集中在三个主要问题上。 首先,澳大利亚岩石艺术处于哪个时代? 第二,它的组织风格是什么样的以及有没有可能从风格中辨别出一个发展序列和模式? 第三,有没有可能在利用所有可能的考古技术和对现有土著居民中博学者的了解,准确地了解这些岩石艺术所要表达的主题?

    关于澳大利亚岩石艺术的年代一直在修正,因为新发现的结果年代判定被不断提前。 现在,可靠的科学证据证明澳大利亚最早的岩石艺术创作大约在3万到5万年前。 这本身是一个几乎不可思议的跨代,也使得澳大利亚的岩石艺术成为世界上传承最久的艺术。

    尽管澳大利亚岩石艺术的非凡古老性现在已经被确立,它们的年代顺序和图案的意义却有着广泛的争论。 1970年代中期以来,澳大利亚岩画艺术组织已经形成一个相当稳定的图像。 为了给这幅画创造一种结构感,研究者们依赖仍然根基于本土视觉文化形式的不同——这种不同是几何元素和修饰元素的不同。 简单的几何重复图案——圆,同心圆,以及线条——组成了全澳大利亚最早的岩石艺术的肖像图谱(有特色的图案)。 一些简单图案在这些最古老的遗址上出现的频率使得岩石艺术研究人员采用了一种描述性的术语——Panaramitee风格——取名自澳大利亚南部沙漠Panaramitee North广袤的岩石丘,这些岩石丘表面都刻有这些图案。 这些图案的特点让人们得出一个结论:它们是来自于一个久远的时代——地质变化明显发生在这些图案的设计之后,当土著信息提供者第一次被问到关于这些图案的问题时,好像对它们的来源一无所知。 此外,这些设计被“沙漠漆” 所覆盖,这种沙漠漆是岩石表面上的颜料经过数千年的暴露形成的。 在Panaramitee发现的简单图案在澳大利亚境内很多岩石画中都很常见。确实,那些拥有几何形图案的遗址在塔斯马尼亚岛也发现了,这个岛在1万年前就从澳大利亚大陆分离了出去。

    二十世纪七十年代,澳大利亚考古正处在蓬勃发展阶段,随之古老的岩石艺术画变得日益清晰。考古学家莱斯利•梅纳德杜撰了新词“Panaramitee 风格”,认为可以为澳大利亚岩石画确定一个顺序,在这个顺序中一种几何风格让步于简单肖像风格(人物和动物的轮廓),之后是一系列的复杂肖像风格,这种风格与泛澳大利亚的几何传统不一样,它们有更大的区域多样性。 尽管赞同该顺序适合这些地区的考古图案,这些地区几千年来一直不断出现考古图案,然而许多作者警告说,这种顺序的潜在结论——从简单图案到几何图案再到复杂和自然主义的图案,模糊了仍然非常重要的几何象征主义在澳大利亚土著的文化连续性。 在这种背景下简单的几何图案可能比真实的东西更明显。 对于澳大利亚土著来说简单图案也能包含复杂的含义。 20世纪的艺术难道没有表明自然主义并没有必然地按照某种预先设定的顺序跟随抽象主义吗?
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