Hyderabad: Prehistoric new cave paintings were found in Thaatimattayyah hills, 10 km from Mancherial district headquarters in which painting of ‘shaman’ (sorcerer), who was considered as a holy man, was unearthed.
Shaman is considered as a divine man who has access to supernatural spirits and protects his people with his touch. He appeases evil spirits and protects the community. He performs pujas with different names such as ‘bhakthal’ among the Gonds and as ‘devarabala’ among the Naikpods.
Historian Dr Dyavanapalli Satyanarayana has claimed that he explored the site in the Buggagattu forest area with the help of the local Naikpod tribes.
He said cave paintings at Thaatimattayya are dated to be 13,000 years B.P. According to Satyanarayana, he came across the ten types of paintings drawn in five colours.
The Thaatimattayya cave paintings contain the figures of animals and birds – antelopes, oxes, wild boars, monitor lizards, bats, owls, tortoises, honeycombs and a couple of unidentified animals.
One of the paintings, fallen animal, might represent the animal sacrifice. Shamans used to be associated with owls. The tortoise looks like the rangoli (patnam in Telugu) drawn by the Naikpod tribes during their rituals in the name of Naguru.
The paintings also include common people, priests and people with tails and Shaman-like figure ‘Thaatimatayya’ from which the hill derives its name.
Dr Satyanarayana said ‘even today families of Naikpod worship the ‘Thaatimatayyah’ or Thaadu which means palm tree. One of the most striking features of the cave paintings is the drawings of perfect circles.
"It seems that the prehistoric artist had used geometric measurements to draw the circles. The circles represented human heads, womb/vagina, flying saucers, dumbbells/tool kits, sun and moon discs. The circles may represent the procreative beliefs and economic activity of the people,” said Dr Satyanarayana.