JOURNAL OF ROCK ART (JORA)
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The journal is devoted to developing theory and methodology for the systematic and rigorous understanding of palaeoart and related phenomena. Emphasis is given to communication across the various disciplines related to the study of global rock art, and to synthesising related subjects around the journal’s focus: the surviving externalisations of early world views.
The world’s earliest reports of rock art derive from China, having been provided by Han Fei (2nd century BCE) and Li Daoyuan (469–527 CE). This was long before any such accounts by Europeans began to appear, which commenced only in the late 16th century CE (reporting rock art from Mexico and Brazil). European rock art was not recorded until Peder Alfssön provided drawings of Swedish petroglyphs in 1627, but they were not published until 1784. Thus, Chinese interest in rock art precedes such curiosity elsewhere by a very considerable margin. However, with the world’s colonisation by Europeans, they eventually acquired much knowledge about global rock art. By the early 19th century, they advanced to developing an academic interest in the subject, which, as Professor Chao Ge has pointed out in China, only took place in the early 20th century. Similarly, scientific rock art research, commencing about 1980 elsewhere, took hold in China only with the turn of the present century.
Seen in this historical context, the establishment of Journal of Rock Art/岩画学报 is most timely indeed. It occurs during the transition of Chinese rock art research from its pre-scientific to its scientific paradigm, a process also underway in the rest of the world. Bearing in mind that the first report about Chinese rock art in a foreign language was only published in 1984 (by Wang Ningsheng), this journal’s bilingual format is of particular importance. Just as the now-defunct International Newsletter on Rock Art by Jean Clottes sought to communicate across language barriers, Journal of Rock Art/岩画学报 will project quality rock art research to the world as well as absorb key developments taking place elsewhere. Progress in science is one of the most unifying forces of humanity, and it is entirely dependent upon effective communication. As Chao Ge correctly noted, the study of rock art is only at the very beginning of becoming a science. That process will be chronicled on the pages of this journal, which offers a global platform to the most innovative scholars in the field.
Journal of Rock Art/岩画学报 is conceived as a sister journal of Rock Art Research, the strictly scientific periodical of the International Federation of Rock Art Organisations (IFRAO) that was founded in 1984. The establishment of the new journal by Prof. Liu Zhenling is an important milestone in Chinese rock art studies and will track the development of the discipline in China and elsewhere. RAJ will be guided by the same standards as RAR: the divine thirst for better understanding that has driven science since its very beginnings. I hold the greatest hopes and offer my best wishes for the magnificent journey RAJ is about to embark upon.
Prof. Robert G. Bednarik
Honorary Editor, JORA, and Editor-in-Chief, IFRAO
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