“Magic Codes” in the National Wetland Museum of China

What is the best method used to keep a word or a picture for longer? One way is to carve it in to stone.

Since November 15, a “Remote Memory – Ningxia Petroglyph Show” has been held in the National Wetland Museum of China, exhibiting 60 cliff-rubbing paintings, four original petroglyphs (also called rock engravings) and three templates. This age-long art is full of mystery and even a single word or mark looks like an ancient password patiently waiting for the interpretation of its “detectives”.

Historical records engraved on rocks

Petroglyphs, also known as “the rock history books”, came into existence before the emergence of characters and has throughout time vividly depicted the activities of early humans. For laymen, the rock engravings look like rough sketches drawn by a child, but in fact, they are very precious historical records that invariably depict the “childhood” of human beings.

Tens of thousands of vivid stone pictures complete an astonishing ancient password, and Ningxia Petroglyph, which is represented by the Rock Art Helan Mountain, shows the life scenes of primitive men 3000 to 10000 years ago. The major themes of petroglyph involve animals, plants, human faces and figures, life images, symbols and patterns.

 “Magic Codes” hidden in the pictures await the interpretation of experts and scholars

Being immovable and exposed in the wild makes petroglyphs very difficult to be protected. It is estimated that at present, 75% of the stone engravings have still not taken any protective measures. What’s worse, it is not only the natural conditions but also the uncivilized behavior of some humans that accelerates the destructive speed of these petroglyphs.

Fortunately, petroglyphs have now gained a growing attention. A renowned artist Han Meilin has already finished his seventh tour in the Rock Art Helan Mountain to obtain creative inspiration and he once said, “20 years ago, when I arrived at the Rock Art Helan Mountain, in front of a mass of petroglyphs, I felt for the first time that I had found the home of art”.

Name of the Show: “Remote Memory – Ningxia Petroglyph Show” 久远的记忆——宁夏岩画展
Location: the atrium corridors and Floor 3 theme exhibition hall in the National Wetland Museum of China
Price: the entrance is free
Opening Time: 09:00—16:30 (entrance is stopped at 16:00) From every Tuesday to Sunday
Tel: +86-571-88872933