Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Rock Art Sites
Urad Rear Banner/Wulate Houqi (Bayannur League/Bameng)
Bu'erhan Shan (Saiwusu Township), a small hill dotted with dark stones, is on the northern edge of the Yinshan range (Fig. 2:1, 15A). The petroglyphs are engraved on the flat and shiny surfaces of boulders or rock slabs covered by desert varnish. The motifs, which concentrate at the summit, include animals (mainly horses and mountain goats) and signs scratched superficially into the dark patina (Fig. 3). The characteristic of this site is its mostly isolated signs, rather than compositions or scenes. The hill, while not high (altitude 1630 m, but only about 50 m from the base), stands out of the generally flat desert plateau which surrounds it. At the base of the hill are a number of burials which, while still not excavated, have been attributed by local archaeologists to the Tujue people who were active in this area between the sixth-eight centuries AD.
Dishui Gou is on a high ledge inside a narrow ravine along the southern edge of the Yinshan (Bayinbaolige village) (Fig. 2:2). The signs consist mostly of circular patterns, perhaps pseudo-human faces or masks, deeply carved on the sides of the gully (Fig. 4). The gully is dry during the summer, but in spring seasonal waters bless the area, and at the neck where the images are found, the waters are forced through a narrow passage producing a waterfall. The position of the images on the highest cliff faces affords also a remarkable view of the fertile territories further south.
Dengkou County (Bayannur League/Bameng)
Fig. 5 & 2:3). Two canyons have been examined: Ge’er’aobao Gou and Molehetu Gou.
Ge’er’aobao Gou is a wide sandy canyon opening towards the fertile land formed by the flooding of the Yellow River (Fig. 15:B). Within the canyon are petroglyphs, burials, worship areas, habitations (old and recent) and springs. These water sources are associated with petroglyphs and small shrines. Archaeologists have collected Han pottery and Xixia (AD 1038-1227) porcelain, an indication of active trade over extended periods (Gai Shanlin 1986, 205-7). Petroglyphs are in dense concentrations on the steep walls of the eastern side of the canyon, and tend to be engraved on large slabs facing west or south or up walls Explain. Three locations running in close succession (A-B-C) are most remarkable.
Fig. 6:A), isolated animals and hunting and herding scenes (Fig. 6:B). The engravings often consist of deep rounded grooves ground into the rock surface. The differential weathering among the various petroglyphs indicates that images were carved over a long period of time.
Molehetu Gou, which is narrower than the main canyon, branches almost perpendicularly off the west side of Ge’er’aobao Gou and runs north-west. Here there are 5 main petroglyph sites: 4 on the northern cliff sides, and one on the southern side. The southern site is a rocky hillock about 50 metres high in front of which runs a creek. The petroglyphs cover the sloping area from the bottom of the hill to near the top across a width of about 100 metres. Its iconography consists mostly of deeply engraved faces or masks and 'abstract symbols', even though there are also standard animal figures and group scenes (Fig. 7).
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