Images & words by Vera Radnell
I’m a newbie in town and keen to see all the interesting things around. One day I stumbled across a few words “ancient rock art in Ipoh”. I was immediately alerted. This was definitely something I had to see…. where is it ? Who can I ask for directions?
My interest stems from collecting rock art on stamps. OK OK, I’m a philatelist, with a nice collection of birds on stamps but now working on an exhibition entitled The History of Hunting. The rock art stamps for my story illustrate hunters and their weapons so I was curious to see what the paintings here represented.
With directions from a neighbour, I found the Ipoh rock face gallery recently and was very happy to see one has to climb up hundreds of steep steps to reach the paintings. What a good deterant I thought, one has to be really keen to climb so many steps. I know what damage vandals can cause and luckily very little modern graffiti adorns the lower rocks.
Upon seeing the myriad display of ancient paintings one instantly forgets the steep climb and you gaze in awe at the representations. Why are the paintings so high up, how old are they, what was used to make the drawings, what do those figures represent? I wasn’t the only admirer of the paintings that afternoon.
Standing in the shade of the tree was an elderly gent (an expert in Indian rock art) with a sketch pad and nearby was an archaeology student from Singapore working on his masters thesis based on the hundreds of paintings here. Noel, the student answered my many questions then invited me to visit his website where more questions on his topic can be answered.
Noel also admitted he collected rock art on stamps but only for SE Asia. He did agreed it was a good idea to keep this special place “a well kept secret”.
For further discussions on philately please contact me at vradnell (at) yahoo (dot) com