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Petroglyphs in Nanyang reveal secrets of prehistoric civilization

Updated: Nov 2, 2017 Print
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Magnificent petroglyphs found in Nanyang are becoming an increasingly important window to probe Chinese rock art and prehistoric civilization of the Central Plains, according to more than 30 experts from China, Japan and South Korea.

Experts examine a petroglyph during an investigation in Nanyang from Oct 28 to 30. [Photo by Wang Hailin/Nanyang Evening Post]

The citation was made during an investigation conducted in Nanyang from Oct 28 to 30.

Petroglyphs are the oldest form of rock carving art, which were used as a record of ancient people's understanding of nature and society, according to Tang Huisheng, an executive member of International Federation of Rock Art Organizations.

Sun Baorui, an associate professor of Nanyang Institute of Technology, attended the investigation. "The petroglyphs in Fangcheng county and Yahe Industrial Area are mainly carved in caves, with different sizes ranging from a few centimeters to a dozen centimeters. The patterns on them include animals, ritual sites, totems and astronomical observation," Sun said.

According to Yang Wensheng, vice president of Henan Cultural Industrial Development Institute, the patterns of Nanyang's petroglyphs are akin to those found in Xinzheng, Henan. Both are important relics left over from the Central Plains Rock Belt. With a concentrated distribution, large size and rich content, Nanyang's petroglyphs are rare by world standards.

A petroglyph that is found in Yahe Industrial District. [Photo by Wang Hailin/Nanyang Evening Post]

"The discovery of the Nanyang petroglyphs is a landmark in rock art research which not only reveals the cultural connotation of the city, but also shows clearly the process of agricultural civilization spreading from the Yellow River to Nanyang basins," said Zhang Yasha, director of Chinese Rock Art Research Center of Minzu University of China.

During the investigation, Yahe Industrial Area was confirmed to be a habitat for many ancient tribes from Central Plain's agricultural civilization 5,000 years ago. Yahe Industrial Area is at the upper reaches of the Baihe River, bordering along the beautiful Yahekou Reservoir. The terrain is higher in the northwest and lower in the southeast. Yahe Area boasts fertile soil, abundant rainfall and well-connected river networks.

More subjects including cup-shaped rock paintings in Japan, direct dating of rock painting and regional distribution of Chinese rock painting in caves were discussed at a symposium held on Oct 30.

With Fangcheng and Yahe petroglyphs becoming typical representatives of rock art in the Central Plains, more and more scholars are coming forward to explore them, aiming to provide reliable information for rock art research and decode the origins of the Central Plain civilization.

Students from Minzu University of China, Nanjing Normal University and Hebei Normal University analyze the structure of the petroglyphs. [Photo by Wang Hailin/Nanyang Evening Post]


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