Alexa

Cultural agency calls for protection of ancient stone carvings

Cultural agency calls for protection of ancient stone carvings

Officials from the Council for Cultural Affairs urged the public Wednesday to help protect 2,000-year-old stone carvings in the Central Mountain Range that have recently been marred by unidentified individuals.
CCA officials, who visited the site with members of the Kaohsiung County Government last week to determine if it should be designated as a national historic site, confirmed that the stone carvings had been damaged by traces of fire and an industrial adhesive, which may have been used to help with stone rubbings.
The officials believed that fires were set to burn away the 3.3-centimeter-thick moss covering the images cut into the stone, located in a remote area of Maolin Township, Kaohsiung County in southern Taiwan.
Tsao Chia-wen, head of a preparatory office for the planned CCA Cultural Assets Management Department, said he and his colleagues could not be certain if the damage was done by members of an academic organization as reported by a media outlet a day earlier.
Tsao said his agency will post instructions and warning signs at the entrance of the Wanshan mountain area to remind people of the archaeological and cultural values of the Wanshan stone carvings and the importance of protecting them.
The series of images were first discovered by mountain climbers in 1972, and are believed to have been carved by the Rukais, one of Taiwan's 12 mountain-residing indigenous groups, up to 2,000 years ago.
The 14 groups of carvings include images of human faces, geometric patterns composed of circles, and hundred-pacer snakes, a traditional symbol of the Rukai people and are seen as treasures of aboriginal culture and history.
The Kaohsiung County Government designated the site as a county historic site in 2006, but Tsao was unsure Wednesday if the site would be upgraded to a national historic site.
He said a CCA ad hoc committee, recently created to address the matter, will meet again soon to discuss the site's archaeological, ethnic, artistic and architectural significance.
The committee is expected to reach a conclusion on the site’s status in late March, Tsao added. According to the CCA Cultural Assets Management Department preparatory office, organizations or individuals who are interested in probing or taking impressions of the Wanshan stone carvings should first apply with the Kaohsiung county government for a permit before attempting to enter the mountain.
The site does not offer easy access and can only be reached by crossing mountains and rivers. Violators could face fines up to NT$1 million or jail terms under five years, the officials said.


Updated : 2020-12-03 00:52 GMT+08:00