Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art
The Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape comprises three locations with thousands of pictographs, painted on steep cliff faces along the river in a karst landscape.
The paintings were made by between the 5th century BCE to the 2nd century AD by the Luoyue people. The site is a cultural landscape and also includes hamlets and villages where people still perform rituals connected to the rock art.
The pictographs can be seen from boats and wooden platforms. They cover four distinct phases of painting, and include depictions of bronze drums, ferry boats and human figures.
Map of Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art
- ●● Cultural
Zos M Philippines/China 16-Jan-18
[Visited Ningming Cluster on Jan. 13, 2018]
English information on Hanoi-Nanning train route is limited. But coming from Hanoi, the MR1 train actually stops at Ningming Country. Hotels in Hanoi can book train tickets – mine costs $35 USD to Pingxiang Border and I bought Pingxiang-Ningming at the station for 11 RMB. The train leaves Hanoi at 9:15 PM and arrives Ningming at 7:00 AM.
Ningming really takes pride in their WHS. You can see the rock art figures printed all over town. They even put the UNESCO WHS logo in front of the train station - perhaps to remind travelers they are indeed not lost upon arrival on this sleepy town. And the ease of visiting this WHS stops here. There are no English signs pointing to Tuolongqiao Dock where boats supposedly to the scenic area are located. Locals are not of help either unless you speak Mandarin or local language. According to AMap (a Chinese map app) there are buses going to Huashan Murals. But the bus stops are nowhere to be found and there are no signs of it even on the GPS coordinate given by the map.
Already tired and frustrated after 30 minutes of looking for the dock and bus stop, I gave in to the offer of the man who kept talking to me. He had a van parked at the station and he offered to bring me to the site and back for 100 RMB. It was still 8:00 AM so I figured he would just take me to the observation area the opposite bank as he pointed on the map. We drove though sugar cane farms on a road that is still being paved. The observation area too was still under construction, possibly to catch the tourist rush for 2018 Chinese New Year.
Viewed from the opposite bank, the rock arts were still visible – hundreds of red anthropomorphic figures squatting with arms raised up. There was no English interpretation boards so it was difficult to place them into context. The view from the opposite side was picturesque – lush greenery provided a contrast to the murky water with the cliffs looming over. The river was idyllic. It set the tone on the relationship between the rock arts and the entire landscape and gave the sense of scale with the paintings splattered across the cliff wall.
Seeing the rock art from afar took away the awe and the personal connection. Compared to my visit of Bhimbetka where I am in breathing distance to the paintings, Huashan experience paled in comparison. The surrounding landscape was scenic but it did not give me the emotional pay-off I was anticipating. From the opposite bank, the paintings seem impersonal and devoid of context even after reading the dossier and ICOMOS evaluation.
I asked the driver if we can go to the opposite bank. He talked to the local boatmen to ferry me across the river. Unfortunately, they refused possibly because of the time or maybe the park was totally close on winter. We then drove back to the train station where I looked again for the bus stop but still no signs of a bus or any stop. I took the 11:15 AM train to Nanning which is 4.5 hours away. Missing the train meant the other option was to take the last train at 2:30 PM or stay overnight at Ningming.
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Full name: Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape
Unesco ID: 1508
Criteria: 3 6
- 2016 - Inscribed
- 2016 - Revision On T List as "The Rock Painting of the Mountain Huashan"
The site has 3 locations.
The site has 5 connections.