On this rock are engravings of animals and symbols from three different time periods (based on the colour of the patina). On the upper part is a delicate and relatively dark inscription (ancient) depicting a horserider with a long spear. Below him, an ibex faces left with a dog opposite that is obscured by a later Bedouin tribal symbol (Wassum). Behind the ibex (on the right) is a horizontal 'balloon’ - a combination of a line and a circle, sometimes depicted upright with the circle above. The 'balloon' is a very common icon in and around the Negev and sometimes appears with the ibex, carried on its back, behind or in front of it. According to the elements that appear together with the ‘balloon’ and their appearance in other types of art from the region they are interpreted as representing an integrated fertility symbol, both masculine (line) and feminine (circle). The association of the ‘balloon’ with the ibex, provides support for its identification as a god of fertility. Below the balloon is a camel, beneath which a cross symbolizing a star or sun, and on the left is an ostrich. In the Negev rock art, camels are usually shown singly, but sometimes in a caravan. They are usually etched schematically, but sometimes with details such as saddles, harnesses or carrying baggage.
The ‘balloon’ symbol is well known in rock-engravings throughout the world. This combination of a line and circle is similar to that of the Yoni and Lingam, which symbolizes the union of male and female deities in Hindu culture. The same shape also appears in stone-built installations in the Negev, Sinai and Saudi Arabia. These take the form of round tombs (tumuli) or stone circles that are associated with stone lines, the latter ranging in length from several meters to several kilometers. These too have been interpreted as fertility symbols.
The Wassum symbols mark territories of Bedouin tribes and clans dating to the last 500 years. Similar symbols still exist today as a means of tribal identification for animals. Often, as here, many engravings can be found on one rock, while the surrounding rocks have few or no engravings. It seems that some rocks have been favored in the past, perhaps because they were considered to have great powers or holiness. In other words, it may have been believed that the engravings on such rocks would have the desired result, such as the depiction of an ibex and ‘balloon’ would bring rain and so fertility for people, herds and crops.
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