2010 Third Annual Rock Art Festival & Seminar, China
Participants: Damon de Laszlo, Dr. Jill Cook, Peter Robinson, Li Hui.
The purpose of this Field Trip was two-fold; to view the rock carvings of the remote Helan Mountains of Inner Mongolia, and to establish a collaboration and partnership between the Bradshaw Foundation and the Yinchuan World Rock Art Museum located at the foot of the mountains.
The Bradshaw Foundation now documents rock art and the major rock art sites throughout the world, but for some time I have been conscious of the distinct lack of representation and information on the rock art of China. On closer inspection, we assessed there to be major rock art sites in at least ten provinces, where significant research was being carried out by predominantly Chinese teams. Helankou, within the Helan Mountains, with its carved petroglyphs and unique motifs, is considered one of the most important sites.
Professor Chen Zhaofu, the tireless campaigner bringing the rock art of China to the attention of the rest of the world, and an executive member of the International Rock Art Committee, then spoke of his hopes for the future of rock art research in China, and the role that the Museum would play in that. The Professor had initiated the contact with the Bradshaw Foundation and the subsequent visit to the Museum, and his lifetimeís work in discovering and documenting the rock art has now been honoured by the Museum.
There then followed an intriguing drumming and dancing ceremony to celebrate the ancient artistic legacy and early culture of the Helan Mountains.
The Bradshaw Foundation also proposed that it would provide advice and contacts for curatorial matters, under the guidance of Dr. Jill Cook of the British Museum, as well as advice on rock art research and documentation techniques. Following her recent curatorial work at the new museum at Cresswell Craggs in England, Jill is especially qualified in such matters.
In order to consolidate the Bradshaw Foundation's proposals, the Museum requested the incorporation of Professor Stephen Oppenheimer's Journey of Mankind Genetic Map into the Museum's permanent exhibition, in order to provide a context for the rock art sites in China. The Map, eventually to be translated, could be run as a loop as well as an interactive map.