Rutog rock paintings in western Tibet
The famous bird-observing site, Pangongcuo Lake, is surrounded by rocks on which there are many paintings. They are the well-known Rutog rock paintings in western Tibet. Some of them are on the rocks beside the road. You can easily see them in your car if you travel to Ngari, west Tibet. But these are newly painted in the past years. You should get off the road to view those valuable and ancient rock paintings at Rutog.
Recently, people find a large number of rock paintings in the Gerze, Ge'gyai and Rutog counties. Some of them are found in higher elevations in western and northern Tibet. Deep and shallow lines are carved on stones with hard rocks or other hard objects. Some pictures were even painted in rich colors. The most beautiful rock paintings are discovered at a dozen places in the Rutog County. Among them, those in the Risum Rimodong and Lorinaka are both large in size and great in number. Their artistic value is also tremendous.
Rock art belongs to the stone carving culture. In ancient times, Tibetan people used the stone inscriptions to describe and record their way of life and work during the early development of human society. The content of the Rutog rock paintings are very rich, including hunting, religious ritual, riding, domestic animal herding and farming, and objects like the sun and moon, mountains, yaks, horses, sheep, donkeys, antelopes, houses, figures, etc. This is simple and natural. For us, those inscriptions are precious cultural record from human ancestors.
The capital of the ancient Xiangxiong Kingdom was also in the Ngari. Xiangxiong writing is a special form of writing created by the ancestors of the Tibetan ethnic group. This kind of writing is significant as it appeared before Tibetan writing. Thus, the rock paintings here are very important to study the history, culture and early human life in Ngari, as well as the whole region of Tibet. Therefore, tourists are kindly required to protect these rock paintings at Rutog, these precious presents from human ancestors.