Carvings on rock surfaces at the National Wanshan Rock Carvings Archaeological Site（國定萬山岩雕考古遺址）are primitive artistic relics left by Taiwan’s early indigenous inhabitants. The site, the only one of its kind to have been found in Taiwan, is located in pristine forest near Wanshan indigenous community in Kaohsiung’s Maolin District. Wanshan and the other settlements in Maolin are inhabited by members of the Drekay (Rukai) tribe.
Gubatsaeh Rock Carvings
To see these stunning petroglyphs, one must spend four days trekking through mountains and crossing streams. The myth of the “Snake-Eating Woman,” passed down from one generation of Drekay people to the next, adds a touch of mystery to the carvings, making them even more captivating.
According to the “Snake-Eating Woman,” there was once a woman from the Bunun indigenous tribe who was married to a Drekay man. She cooked and ate deinagkistrodons（百步蛇, “hundred-pacer vipers”), creatures which the people of Wanshan regard as the guardians of their ancestors and animals that must not be defiled. Having broken a taboo, she was expelled from her husband’s household. They agreed to meet at a large rock, and during the waiting time, the woman drew on the rock using her fingers. This scene is said to have taken place at Gubatsaeh（孤巴察峨）, one of the Wanshan rock-carvings locations.
Dakarau Rock Carving
In 1978, Gao Ye-rong（高業榮）, a professor at the college that later became National Pingtung University, guided by Wanshan residents, discovered the first and second rock-carving sites, Gubatsaeh and Tsubulili（祖布里里）. In 1984, the third rock-carving site, Sanaginaeh（莎娜奇勒娥）, was located. A fourth site, Dakarau（大軋拉烏）, was found in 2022.
In 2008, the Ministry of Culture officially designated the carvings as the National Wanshan Rock Carvings Archaeological Site, protecting 14 carvings at the four different sites.
Tsubulili Rock Carving/Sanaginaeh Rock Carving