Today, we're continuing with our series about one of the richest sources of fossil and archaeological finds in China–the Hetao area. As early as the 5th century AD, the Northern Wei Dynasty geographer Li Daoyuan （骊道元）found rock paintings in the Yin Mountains, in the Hetao region of what is today Inner Mongolia. He provided a detailed account of his finds in his renowned work- "Commentary on the Waterways Classic". Fifteen hundred years later, in the early 1960s, a man named Gai Shanlin（盖山林） became fascinated with Li's account. Gai was a member of the Inner Mongolia Cultural Relics Work Team, and he was determined to find as many of the paintings described by Li Daoyuan, as he could.
Although Li Daoyuan (骊道元)succeeded in providing a detailed account of the rock paintings in the Yin Mountains as early as the 5th century, it wasn’t until 1976 that a comprehensive study was officially launched. Subsequently, numerous experts, scholars and tourists have flocked to Bayannur(巴彦淖尔) League, where more than ten thousand rock paintings have so far been discovered.
Hunting is a popular theme in the rock paintings. The most numerous and most finely-drawn images are those of animals, including goats, antelopes, horses, wolves and leopards. These hunting scenes are considered particularly valuable, as they offer a fascinating insight into the social life of prehistoric people.
No doubt, throughout the Yin Mountains, there are many more mysterious rock paintings, waiting to be discovered. Meanwhile, research on the rock art there is continuing. These historical records, carved into rock by the ancient human inhabitants of Hetao, are a priceless bequest from the fathers of the Chinese nation. They are a fine example of how ancient art can transport us back to a time and place that would otherwise be wholly unknown to us. In the next edition of our programme, we’ll be telling you about some of the ancient bronze-ware found in the Hetao Area.