World’s Oldest Petroglyphs Show Bisexuality


A new report from Mary Mycio in Slate/Huffington Post shows that the Kangjiashimenji Petroglyphs, bas-relief carvings in a massive red-basalt outcropping in the remote Xinjiang region of northwest China, show “the earliest—and some of the most graphic—depictions of copulation in the world.” And they show that bisexuality was common even then.

Mycio writes that Chinese archeologist Wang Binghua discovered the petroglyphs in the late 1980s, but little has been written about them. There are 100 figures in the petroglyphs, which depict some sort of fertility ritual. A section of Mycio’s report explains just how queer the whole ancient scene is:

“The few scholars who have studied the petroglyphs think that the larger-than-life hourglass figures that begin the tableau symbolize females. They have stylized triangular torsos, shapely hips and legs, and they wear conical headdresses with wispy decorations. Male images are smaller triangles with stick legs and bare heads. Ithyphallic is archeology-talk for “erect penis,” and nearly all of the males have one. A third set of figures appear to be bisexual.


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