The 40th Session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee was held in Istanbul between 10 and 20 July 2016. This year, 21 new heritage sites are added to the list, including the site of Mountain Huashan Rock Painting from China.
In the border regions of Guangxi, southwest China, the groups of rock paintings are found on the sheer cliffs and overhanging the surging rivers. As far back as 5BC during the Warring States Period, Luoyue People, the ancient ancestors of Zhuang ethnic minority, started painting on the limestone cliff, which extends 200km of the two shores of Zuojiang River and its tributary Mingjiang River, and involves the cities and counties of Pingxiang, Longzhou, Ningming, Chongzuo, Fusui, Jiangzhou, etc.
The Zuojiang Huashan rock art site covers an area of more than 6,621 hectares and is home to 1900 discrete countable images arranged in about 110 groups. The paintings have a brownish, red color and were said to be created by using a special pigment, a mixture of red ochre (hematite), animal glue and blood and oxalic acid – therefore they survive to today.
The over 2000-year-old rock paintings depict human figures, animals, implements like knives, swords, and musical instruments like bronze drums and bells. Human figures are typically between 60cm (24 in) and 150cm (4.9 ft) tall, but the highest one reaches 3.58 m (11.7 ft) in height. The ancient illustrations also give an insight into the social life, festival activities, rituals and ceremonies of the Luoyue people, and record the early history and culture of China’s southern nations.
The rock painting of Huashan Mountain is believed to be the biggest in the world. Meanwhile it shows ancient Luoyue people’s painting art, just as UNESCO committee describes, “Looking up at this rock painting in huge size, the descendants can not only know the actual and vivid social lives of the ancient Luoyue people, but also appreciate their spiritual advocacy and artistic conception.”
How to get there
The only way to see Huashan Mountain Rock Painting is by boat. Before that you need to get to Ningming (宁明) first, either by bus or by train from Nanning. Here are two Guangxi tour packages to take you to Huashan Mountain Rock Painting: