Merapoh (Malaisie): Rock Art



Gua Jambatan Batu. Photo: Liz Price.


Gua Lima. Photo: Liz Price


Lizard’ from Gua Susu Kambing. Photo: Habli Basir


Lizard’ figure from Gua Jinjang Pelamin. Photo: Liz Price.

In rock art lingo, I’m describing these drawings in single quotes (‘train tracks’) to indicate they are my interpretations. They may not be the right meanings, or what the creators intended to depict, or they may even have multiple meanings! Such is the peril of interpreting rock art, and my role as a rock art researcher is to make sense of these of these drawings and what they tell us about the people who made them.  If my interpretations are correct and the art is recent, there is a possibility that the creators of their art or their descendants still exist, and finding them and asking them about the art may shed light on their meaning. For more pictures of the rock art, check out Liz’s posts on her blog here and here.

1. Many thanks to Habli Basir and Liz Price, part of the caving team to the Merapoh Caves who have shared their photos with me for this post.
2. Tan, N. H. 2003. Rock Art Research in Southeast Asia: A Synthesis. (In preparation).
3. Evans, I. H. N. 1927. Negrito Cave Drawings at Lenggong, Upper Perak. Journal of the Federated Malayan States Museums, 12, 105-106.
4. Zulkfli Jaafar 2003. Ancient limestone landscapes of Malaysia: An archaeological insight, Kuala Lumpur, Department of Museums and Antiquities.
5. Abdul Latib Ariffin 1985. Penyelidikan Lukisan Lama di Gua Luas, Batu Luas (Kuala Kenyam), Ulu Tembeling, Pahang. Malayan Naturalist, 38, 38-43.
6. Mokhtar Saidin & Taçon, P. S. C. 2011. The recent rock drawings of the Lenggong Valley, Perak, Malaysia. Antiquity, 85, 459–475.
7. In an earlier translation attempt, Google Translate called it Necromancer’s Throne. Which is a much better name, IMO. Thanks to Nick Gani for the correction.