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The Rock Painting of the Mountain Huashan

Date of Submission: 28/03/2008
Criteria: (iii)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
State Administration of Cultural Heritage
State, Province or Region:
Ningming County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
Coordinates: N22 15 42 E107 00 37
Ref.: 5340
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Description

The rock painting of the Huashan Mountain is located on the west bank of the Mingjiang River in the Yaoda Town, Ningming County, Guangxi Zhuang Nationality Autonomous Region. It is left from the wizard activities of the ancient Luoyue people of the Zhuang nationality in the drainage area of the Zuojiang River south of the Five Ridges from the Warring States Period to the Eastern Han Dynasty, and is the site of ancient rock paintings which is famous both at home and abroad. With a history of 1800-2500 years, it is well-known as the typical representative of the rock painting in the drainage area of the Zuojing River of Guangxi for its great scale, grand scenes, and numerous images. Because of its extremely important historical, national, artistic and scientific value, it is an important part in the heritage treasury of the traditional culture of Chinese nation and the Chinese rock paintings. In 1988, the State Council announced it as a major historic site under national protection.

Huashan Mountain, also called "Xianren (celestial being) Mountain", is called as pay laiz in the language of the Zhuang Nationality, which means a mountain with colorful paintings. It is a mountain of broken rocks, of which the ridges and peaks are undulate. Its height is 270 meters, and the length from north to south is 350 odd meters. The west cliff facing the river is precipitous and inclined to the riverside. It gains its name as it is called pay laiz in the language of the Zhuang nationality, namely a mountain with colorful paintings. The rock paintings were painted with the mixed pigment modulated with hematite, animal glue and blood, and looked red. The painting is 170 odd meters in width, 40 odd meters in height, and covers an area of about 8000 square meters. There are still about 1900 odd countable images in about 110 groups, except those blurred ones. The paintings were painted from where it was two meters high from the foot to the above. Most of them are in the middle part at the height from five to 20 meters. The figures are the main body of the rock painting. Most of the figures are in the postures of the obverse side and the sideways. They are all barefooted, in the gesture of half squat with the hands raised and the knees bended, accompanied with the pictures of horses, dogs, timbales, knives, swords, clocks, ships, roads and the sun, etc. At the centre or upper position of each group, there are giants of several meters in height with knives and swords hanged at the waist and decoration of the beast shape on the head and furnished with saddle horse, who are commandingly looking down the crowd rataplaning, playing music, dancing freely and spreeing. They must be the head of the tribe or the commander of the activity. Pictures of abundant contents and deep artistic conceptions were delineated by the composition of the rock painting and the modeling of the figures, which factually reflected the age long social activity scenes of the disappeared Luoyue people. The development of the Huashan Mountain rock painting (including the Zuojiang River rock painting) has gone through a lot of historical periods such as the Warring States, the Western Han and the Eastern Han dynasties. The special features of each period are distinct. They are the extremely important historical record of the history of the southern nations of China. 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. It is the precious historical demonstration for mousing out and researching the social development of the ancient Luoyue people of the Zhuang Nationality; The Huashan Mountain rock painting is the largest ancient rock painting both at home and abroad. It combines the three main characteristics of great scale in the whole (the Zuojiang River rock painting), grand imposing manner of the single body (itself) and the gigantic forms of the individual figures (in the rock painting), of which the grand and open imposing manner thereby formed is unexampled with other rock paintings; Most of the pictures of the Huashan Mountain rock painting adopt the creation method of plane portray, e.g., projection homochromatic flat painting. Outlines of the images were painted with purpose-made soft pens on the rock cliff, forming the silhouette-like artistic result, bringing up the rough style and the active innervation of the Huashan Mountain rock painting with extremely strong artistic appeal. It is the immortal masterpiece and base of inheriting the painting art of the Zhuang Nationality ancient people.

Rock paintings of the similar style as the Huashan Mountain rock painting are scattered on the cliffs of the two shores of Zuojiang drainage area of Guangxi, involving the cities and counties of Pingxiang, Longzhou, Ningming, Chongzuo, Fusui and Daxin, etc, stretching 200-300 kilometers. Up till now, 82 rock paintings have been discovered, among which, there is one site in Pingxiang city, 21 sites in Longzhou county, eight sites in Ningming county, 28 sites in Chongzuo city, 23 sites in Fusui county, and one site in Daxin county. They are called by the joint name of Zuojiang River rock painting.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

As for the criterion (iii):

The rock painting of the Huashan Mountain provides clear and definite evidence of the history of the disappeared ancient Luoyue people. Both of the Baiyue nationality and the Luoyue tribe of the south of the Five Ridges had created magnificent cultures, and had become the important parts of the Chinese civilization. With the progress of the history and the development of the society, there have been changes in the social foundation on which the Luoyue society, the Luoyue civilization and other extensively used systems had depended, but the Zuojiang River rock painting still truly recorded all of these. The rich contents and information of the rock painting provide extremely reliable proofs for the research, exploration and excavation of these disappeared national histories.

As for the criterion (vi):

The rock painting of the Huashan Mountain has an important influence on the formation and development of the folk religious belief of China. The rock painting of the Huashan Mountain vividly pictures the scenes of wizard sacrifice activities of the Luoyue people, expressing their spiritual worship, belief and desire. The type of folk religious belief expressed by the rock painting of the Huashan Mountain becomes the foundation of folk belief of the later generations, and has far-reaching influence.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The rock painting of the Huashan Mountain has been preserved quite well. Although its history is as long as 2000 odd years since its occurrence till now, most of them appear in basically high-visible features on the cliff up to now, basically preserving the original features, except that small part of them which has been covered with CaCo3 sediments caused by the erosion by wind and rain, and small part of them which has fallen off with the rocks caused by the weathering of part of the rocks.

Comparison with other similar properties

In terms of selection of the subject matter, the artistic form, the painting skill or the aesthetic appeals, etc, compared with other rock paintings, the rock painting of the Huashan Mountain has more distinct nationalized and life characteristics, and becomes the model of rock painting art of Chinese style, and also the rare fine work in the history of ancient rock painting of the world.

With large amount of pictures of human being and animals, objects, from different angles, it expresses the important social development changes which dated back to 2000 odd years ago from the Warring States period to the Eastern Han Dynasty, and the artistic style of the rock painting and folk religious belief of several historical stages. It has made important contribution to the innovation and development of the rock painting art of China, and possesses great historical, artistic and scientific appreciation value which is irreplaceable by the similar rock paintings or other rock paintings.