Discovering Rock Arts and Cave Arts in Southeast Asia

Rock painting and carvings provide humanity a glimpse into its distant past, cultivating a deeper understanding of past cultures and rebuilding the gap between the historic and modern way of life. If you love travel art, a visit to the different rock arts and cave arts in Southeast Asia will truly be a memorable chance of a lifetime.

Pettakere Cave, Indonesia

Hand prints in the caves at Pettakere in Sulawesi, Indonesia dates back to 40,000 years, and recognized as “the oldest hand stencil in the world”. The caves also feature a pig deer that’s at least 35,400 years old, and is one of the oldest animal depictions ever painted by human hands.

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Sangkulirang Caves, Indonesia

Hundreds of negative handprints are also depicted in 30 caves in Sangkulirang Kalimantan, Indonesia. According to experts, the primitive paintings are about 10,000 years old.

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Kaimur District in Bihar, India

The rock paintings in the Lehda forest in Kaimur dates 20,000 years during the Neolithic era. The Kaimur rock paintings are well preserved and are in great condition until today. The ancient paintings depict Neolithic way of life including dancing, walking and hunting, as well as sun, stars and moon.

Pha Taem in Thailand

Half a kilometer away from the car park in Pha Taem Natural Park are 300 prehistoric hand paintings that are about 3,000 years old. The paintings feature life during that time, and some of the most popular ones include human hands, animals and planted crops among others.

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Hua Mountain in China

The paintings were found on limestone cliffs facing Guangxi, on the west bank of the Ming River, and are about 1,800 to 2,500 years old. There are about 1,900 images depicting human and animal figures, human tools and instruments, and were believed to be made with red ochre, animal glue and blood.

Padah-Lin Caves of Burma/Myanmar

The limestone caves in Padah-Lin Caves contain 11,000-year-old paintings made of red ochre dating from between the mesolithic and early neolithic periods. Paleolithic and Neolithic rock tools are also found there.

Angono Petroglyphs, the Philippines

The Angono Petroglyphs in Rizal, Philippines are stone carvings of human and animal figures, believed to be one of the oldest in Southeast Asia. There are 127 engravings of people, animals and other shapes, which are at least 5,000 years old.

Perak, Malaysia

Some 2,000-year old paintings are found in Gua Tambun in Perak and there are also 1,200-year old paintings in the Niah Caves National Park. It is believed that Negritos and other ancient tribes made the paintings.

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Photos by: julia ChapplePierre-Nicolas Werner and Phalinn Ooi

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