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Pictographic or logographic characters, symbols or images, carved into rocks by means of a sharp tool. Petroglyphs should not be confused with pictographs. In 1988 some few thousand petroglyphs carved into the rocky cliffs of Beishan Mountain were discovered in Damaidi area (大麥地), Zhongwei (中衛), a prefecture-level city in China. The oldest of them were dated at twenty to thirty thousand years ago, whilst the latest ones were from around six to seven thousand years ago, i.e during the New Stone Age. They mainly depict images of animals such as tigers, dogs, horses and sheep, but also scenes from life, like weddings or other ceremonies and events. Whether those are the cradle of Chinese characters is still a mystery, though one thing is certain, that drawings from Damadi are the oldest creations of human artistic imagination and thought ever discovered in China.

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Page last modified on November 02, 2011, at 10:42 AM