THE ROCK ART AREA OF HELANSHAN
HelanShan is the boundary mountain between Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, surrounded by Wulanbuhe Dessert, Tengli Desert, Weiningbei mountains and Yinchuan Plain, running northeast at 30. With 200km in long and over2000 meters above sea level, HelanShan is the watershed between the out flowing area and inflaming area, and the demarcation line between the temperate wilderness grasslands and wilderness, the monsoon climate and non-monsoon climate.
The rock art are distributed quite widely and relatively densely overcalls which have 19 sites. There are Mairujing, Fanshigou, Great and Lesser Shoulingou, Hongguozikou, Heishimao, Jiucaigou, Guotougou, Baijigou, Great and Lesser Xifenggou, Baitougoum, Helankou, Suyukou and Huohuogou, Kujinggou and Damaidi. Due to big distance between south and north in distribution of rock art and certain difference in natural conditions. The Helanshan rock arts are divided characteristically into three types.
1. The rock art on mountain-front grasslands
The rock arts of this type are concentrated on north end of HelanShan. The localities include all groups of rock art are sparsely laid out, mixed and disorderly, rock surfaces facing all d directions. The motif designs are animals such as northern goat, sheep, antelope, deer, horse, dog, snake, bird, and individual hoof-prints, wheel and symbols as well. The rock arts were done in methods of striking- and- chiseling and incising, with the former being used more often.
2.The rock art on hilly lands
The rock arts of this type are mainly
focused on the middle and northern
section of HelanShan. They have two features
in distribution. First they are chiefly scattered over remotes mountains
and hinterland. Second most of the rock art are spread over
precipices both sides
of gullies or along the gullies. Rock arts are densely distributed
. Rock surfaces varying in
size, most of them facing south or east, only a
few facing west. The rock arts are dominated by human masks , with
the rest of hand prints,
foot-prints, the sun and the stars, a few designs
being animals. The subjects depicted in the scenes include hunting,
herding, life in pastoral area, religious ceremony and fighting with
weapons and vehicle, buildings,
plants, symbols. All are done
and chiseling and polishing and cutting, with the
used more often.
3.The rock art on deserts and hills
The rock arts of this type were mainly distributed over WeiningbeiHills south of Helan Shan. They are scattered over exposed strip- tier-like base rocks on mountain ridges, quite a few of which are covered by sand. They are all facing south. Mono- designs and combined designer in proportion, most of them are animals. The contents deal with hunting herding and spectacle of religion and scene of daily life. In addition, the figures include human mask and human figure. All the rock arts are done in the methods of striking chiseling incising and polishing-cutting, with the first being often used.
The upper limit of the absolute date of Helanshan rock art archaeological data indicate those cultural relics and remains dating from all the historic periods since the Neolithic Age. The lower limits of the absolute date of the HelanShan rock art were still carved during the period of Western Xia, Yuan, Ming and Qing.
By an overall contrast and analysis, the HelanShan rock arts are divided into three phases: phase 1, dating back to Pre- Spring and Autumn-Warring States period. Phase 2, dating from Spring and Autumn-Warring States period to Southern and Northern Dynasty and Western Xia Dynasty. The upper limit of the absolute date is the Shang while the limit of the absolute date is the Song and WeaternXia Dynasties.
The Helan Mountains rock arts constitute a national cultural art created by different nationalities in different historic ages. It's reflect that the nomadic tribes of their social form custom and religious belief. Providing valuable materials for the study of the history of the minor nationalities in ancient China.