China's Gansu sets up digital archives for ancient rock paintings
LANZHOU, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Northwest China's Gansu Province has set up a digital image database for rare and precious rock paintings at its 72 cultural relic sites, local authorities said.
"We spent over a year collecting high-precision data and recording information such as the surrounding environment and geographical location of the rock paintings," said Ding Xiaosheng, deputy director of the cultural relics digitalization institute of the Dunhuang Academy.
The rock paintings on Yumu Mountain, most of which feature well-preserved animal figures, can be traced back to the Stone Age.
The provincial cultural relics bureau approved the digital project in 2021, assigning the Dunhuang Academy to carry out the work.
So far, 72 rock painting sites have been discovered in Gansu, mostly distributed in deep mountains, the Gobi Desert, or valleys that are seldom visited by people.
Among them, the rock paintings in Heishan Mountain depict the living scenes of the ancient Qiang ethnic group, such as hunting, horse riding and archery, in the Hexi Corridor, part of the ancient Silk Road in northwest China.
"Rock paintings are vivid historical records that reflect the lifestyles of ancient people," said Qiu Jian, deputy head of the provincial cultural relics bureau. "They are an invaluable cultural heritage of humanity."
The protection of rock paintings and carvings is a matter of global concern. At present, there is a lack of effective, natural scientific and technological means to prevent their disappearance.
"The digital archives can provide basic data support for future research, protection and utilization of the rock paintings in Gansu," Ding said.