Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art
Detail of the main painting
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Official name||Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape|
|Location||Ningming County, People's Republic of China|
|Criteria||Cultural: (iii), (vi)|
|Inscription||2016 (40th Session)|
The Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape (Chinese: 花山壁画; pinyin: Huāshān Bìhuà) is an extensive assembly of historical rock art that were painted on limestone cliff faces in Guangxi, southern China over a period of several hundred years at least. The paintings are located on the west bank of the Ming River (Chinese: 明江; pinyin: Míng Jiāng; literally: "Bright River") which is a tributary of the Zuo River. The area of the paintings is part of the Nonggang Nature Reserve and belongs to the Town of Yaoda in Ningming County. On July 15, 2016, Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape were listed as World Heritage Site. It is the 49th World Heritage Site in China.
The main painted area along the cliff has a width of about 170 metres (560 ft) and a height of about 40 metres (130 ft) and is one of the largest rock paintings in China. The paintings are located between 30 metres (98 ft) and 90 metres (300 ft) above the river's water level. The main area contains about 1900 discrete countable images arranged in about 110 groups. The paintings have a red color and were executed using a mixture of red ochre (hematite), animal glue, and blood. They depict human figures as well as animals along with bronze drums, knives, swords, bells, and ships. Human figures are typically between 60 centimetres (24 in) and 150 centimetres (4.9 ft) tall, but one figure reaches 3 metres (9.8 ft) in height.
The paintings are believed to be between 1800 and 2500 or between 1600 and 2400 years old. The period of their creations hence spans the times from the Warring States period to the late Han Dynasty in the history of China. Many of the paintings are thought to "illustrate the life and rituals" of the ancient Luo Yue people, who are believed to be ancestors of the present-day Zhuang people and inhabited the valley of Zuo River during this period. However, recent carbon dating suggests that the oldest paintings were executed around 16,000 years ago whereas the youngest are around 690 years old.
An exhibition in the Zhuang Nationality Museum in the City of Chongzuo (崇左市壮族博物馆) is dedicated to the history and interpretation of the paintings.
- Guo Hong, Han Rubin, Huang Huaiwu, Lan Riyong, and Xie Riwan: Types of Weathering of the Huashan Rock Paintings, in: Agnew, Neville, ed., Conservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Conservation of Grotto Sites, Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang, People's Republic of China, June 28-July 3, 2004. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, 2010.
- The Rock Painting of the Mountain Huashan, UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List