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Sangkulirang – Mangkalihat Karts: Prehistoric rock art area

Date of Submission: 30/01/2015
Criteria: (iii)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Indonesia to UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
East Kalimantan
Coordinates: N 1 9 39 12 E 117 9 32 62
Ref.: 6009
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

The property is situated in the midle-eastren part of East Kalimantan Province, at Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Peninsula. It contains thousands of red rock-art paintings, and some sites with engraving located at 35 sites in seven different karst mountain areas at the head of the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Peninsula (Merabu, Batu Raya, Batu Gergaji, Batu Nyere, Batu Tutunambo, Batu Pengadan and Batu Tabalar).

More rock art made by hunter-gatherers is found in Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Peninsula than anywhere else in South-east Asian. This seems to indicate that for thousands of years, from approximately 5.000 years ago.  Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Peninsula was an important meeting place in south part of the preAustronesian and Austronesian Migration.

The development of paintings in Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Peninsula through thousands of years can be related to the end-glacial to the post-glacial land upheaval. In Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Peninsula the changing landscape of prehistoric times is evident, and the position of the painting sites also provides a key to understanding the cultural area of rock a rt in the past, as well as the prehistoric chronological of Southeast Asian region.

The Rock Art painting shows communication between the world of the living and the worlds of the spirits, and gives insight in to the cosmology of prehistoric hunters and gatherers.

There is an exceptionally high number of ‘tatto’ hand-print, composing handprint, unique human figures and fascinating representations of prehistoric social life, dancing, hunting, and rituals. Moreover, the Rock Art provides a unique testimony to the interaction of hunter-gatherers with the landscape. The panels show hunting and ritual journeys, and are thought to represent their landscapes mind. A wide range of big-mamals fauna is depicted (bos javanicus, cervus unicolor, sus barbatus, manis javanica), and also depicted already disappeared animal mammals like tapirus indicus.

Studies of material culture and cultural area are enriched by the many different artifacts shown on the Sangkulirang -Mangkalihat Peninsula sites. Good natural preservation conditions permit the study of rock art protection. Investigation of the large settlement and sites adjacent to the paintings gives a better understanding of the social context of the Rock Art. The Rock Art and the settlement sites demonstrate communication in prehistory not only with areas thousands of kilometers away, but also optimized using of karstic mountain environment.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Criterion (iii): The Rock Art of Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Peninsula, with its thousands of paintings, is an exceptional testimony of the aspects of prehistoric life, the savana environment and the activities of hunter-gatherer societies in the Kalimantan in prehistoric times. The wide range of motifs and scenes of high artistic quality reflect a long tradition of hunter-gatherer societies and their interaction with landscape, as well as the variation of their symbols and rituals from approximately 5.000 years ag o. The dating research still in progress and it pottensially these rock-art paintings could revealed older than 5000 year ago, going deep into 10.000 years ago.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Knowledge of the outstanding universal culture value of property is primarily based on Groups of rock art sites, which are still largely in their original condition. Most of the rich rock art images, the form and design, materials, techniques and location, have been preserved under cliff, and the chisel (or sharp tool) marks from their production thousands of years ago can still be studied and seen.

The property is of sufficient size and scope to encompass the entire limestone massif, with a full range of classical karts l andform and associated geomorphic processes.  Groups of site, cave and shelter with rock art painting are included in this area.

There are no structure that obstruct the scenery or detract from the aesthetic appeal of the area. No occupation and utilization in this area and most of it remains in a natural state. A large buffer zone completely surround the property, protecting it form any external disruption. Occupied areas are protecting forest and Custom forest.

Comparison with other similar properties

1. Sulawesi Caves (c.37,900 BCE) Indonesia

The world's oldest hand stencil comes from the Leang Timpuseng Cave in the Maros-Pangkep karst area on the Island of Sulawesi. The site also includes some of the most ancient animal paintings, all made by Aborigine migrants who were probably heading for Australia.

2. El Castillo Cave (c.37,300 BCE) Spain

The second oldest hand stencil comes from the Aurignacian cave complex of El Castillo. Some 55 other hand silhouettes and other symbols can be seen in the cave, several of which have also been dated to the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic.

Since this period of early Aurignacian art coincides with the first arrival of anatomically modern man, speculation has arisen that these hand paintings were made by Neanderthals. Sceptics consider this unlikely.

3. Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave (c.30,000 BCE) France

In total, the cave contains 12 red ochre hand prints, 9 hand stencils and some 450 palm prints - mostly on the Panel of Hand Stencils in the Gallery of Hands. In the Panel of the Red Dots, a cave painting discovered close to the cave entrance, there is a cluster of large dots, roughly in the shape of a mammoth. The dots were made by dipping the palm of the right hand into red paint and then applying it to the wall.

4. Aboriginal Art: Northern Coast of Australia (c.30,000 BCE)

Hand stencils are a prominent feature of both Ubirr Rock painting and the ajoining region of Kimberley Rock art. Although the oldest Aboriginal rock art is believed to date from about 30,000 BCE, this has not been scientifically confirmed. See also the later Bradshaw Paintings (now called Gwion art) from the same Kimberley area.

5. Cosquer (c.25,000 BCE) France

Part of the prehistoric art which decorates this cave consists of 65 hand stencils, dating back to Gravettian culture.

6. Pech Merle (c.25,000 BCE)

This Upper Paleolithic shelter is famous for its polychrome mural known as "The Dappled Horses of Pech-Merle", which itself contains a number of stencilled hand prints.

7. Gargas Cave (c.25,000 BCE) France

Located in the Hautes-Pyrenees, not far from the rock shelters at Niaux and Trois Freres, the cave contains rock engravings, artifacts, paintings andmobiliary art from the Mousterian to the Magdalenian, including numerous 'negative hands' created in red ochre or manganese, using a stencil technique. In addition, there are some 200 handprints, mostly of the left hand. Some of them are lacking one or more fingers, due either to ritual amputation or frostbite.

8. Roucadour Cave Art (c.24,000 BCE)
Stylistically similar to the parietal works at Pech Merle Cave, the art at Roucadour Cave includes a number of vivid negative hand paintings.

9. Abri du Poisson Cave (c.23,000 BCE) France

In addition to its best known item of Gravettian art - namely, the bas-relief limestone sculpture of a salmon - this rock shelter has a single legible hand stencil.

10. Karawari Caves (c.18,000 BCE) Papua New Guinea

An extensive network of 250 caves and rock shelters in the East Sepik Karawari river region contain the greatest examples of hand stencils and other types of parietal art in Melanesia. In the Meakambut and Namata caves for instance, there are palm prints made by young male initiates painted with a combination of blood and clay.

11. Maltravieso Cave (c.18,000 BCE) Spain

This centre of Solutrean art at Caceres, Extremadura, contains numerous animal paintings and engravings as well as an outstanding cluster of 71 stencilled handprints, many of which are missing fingers.

12. Bayol Cave (17,000 BCE) France

The sole handprint from the French rock shelter Bayol II (Collias II), situated near the Pont du Gard aqueduct, is thought to have been left by a very small child.

13. La Garma Cave (c.17,000 BCE) Spain

There are 32 hand stencils, plus a series of red dots and other simple red ochre animal figures from the era of Solutrean art, which span the entire length of the cave's 300 metre Lower Gallery.

14. Lascaux (c.17,000-13,000 BCE) France

In addition to its prehistoric engravings and beautiful animal paintings, Lascaux also has a very small number of hand stencils.

15. Altamira (c.17,000 BCE) Spain

Amongst its other examples of parietal art, this famous Cantabrian rock shelter boasts a number of hand stencils sprayed with red pigment.

16. Font de Gaume Cave (c.14,000 BCE) France

In addition to its magnificent bison frieze, the cave has a total of four hand stencils.

17. Rouffignac Cave (c.14,000-12,000 BCE) France

This vast underground cave complex is filled with over 250 prehistoric cave drawings, as well as abstract symbols and signs, and a number of hand prints.

18. Cougnac Cave (c.14,000 BCE) France

The Magdalenian art here includes three human figures and about 50 hand stencils, as well as numerous fingerprints in black and red.

19. Les Combarelles (c.12,000 BCE) France

This centre of Magdalenian art, has over 600 drawings of animals, but only one legible hand stencil.

20. Fern Cave (c.10,000 BCE) Australia

This north Queensland rock shelter contains a range of hand stencils and other aboriginal rock paintings dating to the beginning of Mesolithic art in the tenth millennium BCE.

21. Kalimantan Caves (c.8,000 BCE) Indonesia

In Borneo, following research by Jean-Michel Chazine, some 1500 negative handprints have been discovered in 30 Stone Age caves in the Sangkulirang area of Eastern Kalimantan. According to initial dating tests they were created during the Mesolithic. The Indonesian painted caves at Maros in Sulawesi are also famous for their hand stencils.

22. Gua Ham Masri II Cave (c.8,000 BCE) East Borneo, Indonesia

Contains about 140 hand stencils (equal male/female). Most of this ancient art dates back to the early Mesolithic.

23. Cave of Hands (Cueva de las Manos) (7,300 BCE) Santa Cruz, Argentina

One of the major prehistoric sites of South American hunter-gatherer groups during the Early Holocene epoch, the cave contains a number of painted animal figures, a range of geometric shapes, and a sensational panel of rock art hand paintings - mostly stencilled - dated to around 7,500 BCE.

24. Catal Huyuk (c.5,000-3,700 BCE) Turkey

Red ochre handprints dating from the early period of Neolithic art have also been discovered here, along with a large quantity of animal and human imagery. Along with the other major archeological mound in southern Anatolia, at Gobekli Tepe, this large Chalcolithic settlement is the best-preserved Neolithic site excavated to date.

25. Elands Bay Cave (c.4,000 BCE) South Africa

This Neolithic shelter is noted for its clusters of several hundred handprints, stylistically matched with others about 6,000 years old.

26. Handprint Cave of Belize (Actun Uayazba Kab) (c.1500 BCE)

Discovered in 1996, Handprint Cave is named after the stencilled outlines of human hands and other hand art created during the Mayan culture. It contains a range of other pictographs and petroglyphs.

27. Red Hands Cave (less than 1,000 BCE) NSW, Australia
Famous site of Aboriginal rock art, noted for its Neolithic collage of hand prints and hand stencils, left by from adults and children, in hues of red, yellow and white ochre. Aborigine artists filled their mouths with a mixture of water, ochre, and animal fat (from a kangaroo, emu, or echidna) and blew it across their hand to make the stencil.