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HomeInternational exchangeCo-operation projects
Dongba culture linked to Neolithic cave paintings
From:CNTV  Writer:  Date:2013-04-03

 

Academics from Britain and China claim to have found links between Neolithic cave paintings and the Dongba religion of Yunnan Province. The latest research establishes a pattern that reveals the origins of Dongba writings going back 7,000 years. This crucial evidence is now on display at the UK’s Northhampton University.

The latest research establishes a pattern that reveals the origins of Dongba
writings going back 7,000 years.

For thousands of years, locked away in the mountainous province of Yunnan, Dongba has been the main religion of the Naxi people. Even today it uses an ancient pictograph–based language to document its culture – the world’s only surviving form of such a writing.

Now studies of Neolithic cave paintings in the Jinsha River Valley reveal a critical social link. Suggesting fluidity of the 7,000 year-old paintings were the words of an elite religious class among the cave dwellers. The new research findings on show at Northampton University in the UK.

The latest research establishes a pattern that reveals the origins of Dongba
writings going back 7,000 years.

Paul Middleton, University of Northampton, said, "So when we’ve looked at the Dongba pictograph we’ve found that they’re made in the same way, the very fluid marks that are obviously predetermined and planned and not everybody can do it. So those people who have those skills are going to be revered in their society."

Artists not scientists have been used to understand the cave paintings tracing similarities in Dongba art.

He Pinzheng, Dongba artist, said, "I’m very proud that it’s here in Northampton. It’s great to see it."

Such was the mountainous terrain of Yunnan – between Tibet and South East Asia – life there continued largely divorced from the outside world till the middle of the 20th century. The images of Dongba art work are dominated by the creatures that would have lived in the mountains and jungles surrounding the Naxi people. Perhaps that very geography, which constrained the expansion of Dongba culture.

Professor Yan Junqi, Beijing Communication University, said, "You’re absolutely right, the geological restrictions contributed a great deal. Before the fancy modern communications, the tools of modern technology available, how do you get your message out – by person, by the messenger."

The project has made unlikely bedfellows of Beijing Lijiang and Northampton in middle England as the Dongba Evidence tours Britain.

 

 
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