A general introduction
The cliff paintings of Cangyuan is said to take on different colors as the time, weather and humidity change. According to the proverb of the local Wa and Thai people that the cliff painting changes three times a day: in the morning the color is red, at noon lighter and in the evening purple. Nowadays the paintings have already been designated as the key historical relic protection unit at the provincial level.
Up to now, eleven painted cliffs have been found to scatter in the villages of Menglai, Dinglai, Mankan, Heping of Cangyuan County and the village of Mangguang of Dima County etc. Called Randianmu which means the paintings on the rocks in the local Wa language, these reddish brown ancient paintings were basically drawn on the grey limestone at the elevation of about 1, 500 meters. Measuring somewhere between one to thirty square meters, these primitive masterpieces are normally two to ten meters above the ground and include the images of animals, architectures, trees, boats, heavenly bodies like the sun or the moon, mountains and many abstract symbols etc. Human figures and lively life scene are also the important themes of these artistic works on the sharp cliffs. The eyes, nose and other facial details of the human face are normally omitted; the painters instead paid more attention to the depiction of the human body and limbs. Apart from artistic meanings and value, many important life activities of these human ancestors such as hunting, dancing, recreation and sacrifice rituals and suchlike are vividly displayed and recorded, which seems to bring the viewers back to those mysterious and remote prehistoric ages.