Continuous rainstorm-triggered floods have caused substantial damage to prehistoric cliff paintings at Helan Mountain in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
Prehistoric art washed away by flooding
Some of the paintings have been damaged by mud and silt while others have peeled off or cracked due to the rain. The paintings carved on individual rocks were more seriously damaged as floods washed the rocks away.
An employee at the scenic area, which has about 6,000 cliff paintings, said about a dozen paintings on individual rocks were unaccounted for.
The unusually heavy rain resulted in rare floods in the mountain. Most defenses were destroyed by the powerful water flow, resulting in devastating damage to the cliff paintings, said Hu Zhiping, deputy director of Helan Mountain Cliff Painting Administration in Yinchuan, the region’s capital.
The extent of the damage is still being assessed, said Hu.
Helan Mountain has around 20,000 cliff paintings carved by nomads who once lived in northern China. The paintings are scattered over several hundred kilometers.
The paintings depict the activities of people who lived 3,000 to 10,000 years ago.