|PALAEOLITHIC ROCK ART IN CHINA?|
PALAEOLITHIC ROCK ART IN CHINA?
Rock art that resembles closely the style we perceive in presumably
Palaeolithic art in Europe is not restricted to Europe, it can be
found also in Asia.
For instance, R. G. Bednarik has reported such rock art from Siberia,
pointing out that it was made with metal tools and is regarded as
being of recent centu-ries.
Now comes a new report of painted cave art, this time from southern China.
The Yunnan Province, which borders Burma, Laos and Vietnam, lies
in the most mountainous part of south-east Asia.
Its rock art became the first Chinese rock art reported outside
of China, when an article about it was published in Australia in
1984 (in Rock Art Research).
A new book about Yunnan's rock art has just been published by
Associate Professor Peng Feiin Japanese, entitled Chuugoku,
Unnan, iwae no nazo.
According to it, some of the paintings in Lijian County occur in caves,
and among them are animal outlines that resemble the familiar style
of Palaeolithic art in western European caves.
Anthropomorphous figures, i.e. motifs that remind us of human forms,
also occur in this art, with one composition in a limestone cave
on Pucili Mountain at Donglian village, Lijian, faintly resembling
the Addaura anthropomorphs in Italy.
Some Chinese commentators identify them as gibbons, others as
humans, and others still as early hominids (!).
A red outline of a rhinoceros near Yinbiruo village is among the
semi-naturalistic figures, while other motifs seem to depict bovids,
cervids and antelope-like quadrupeds, or perhaps ovicaprines.
Many of these animal figures are quite naturalistic, often
well-proportioned, and they differ significantly from the earlier,
much more stylised human and animal figures in the same region
or even at the same sites.
These preceding anthropomorphs are typically in frontal view,
with triangular torsos.
Their genre of rock painting has been dated to approximately
3000 years BP at one of the Cangyuan sites, as Bednarik and
Li Fushun have reported in The Artefact (14: 28).
Presumably the Palaeo-lithic-style paintings at these sites
are more recent than that, which is confirmed by the nature
of some of the motifs found with them.
The one figure that most closely resembles bovids from western
European caves, an 'ox' from Hutiaoxia in Lijiang County,
bears what is considered to be an arrow on its flank, the
triangular shape of which suggests that it would be a metal arrow.
In every other respect, however, the image resembles aurochs
images in western Europe.
This corpus of rock art is another example that 'Palaeolithic style'
does not necessarily indicate a Pleistocene antiquity, and it
further emphasises some of the points made in the two preceding reports.
Robert G. Bednarik
|PALAEOLITHIC ROCK ART IN CHINA?||[FRENCH CULT HEROINE]|