The Oldest Porn in the World is a Wild Pansexual Orgy

Laura Bradburn

In the border regions of Northwest China, near the beginning of the Silk Road, rests the mountain range known as Tien Shan. The mountain range’s name derives from the Xiongnu word for “sky” or “heaven”. And it is here, in these celestial mountains, that we find the world’s earliest pornography.

Meet the Kangiashimenji Petroglyphs:


The Petroglyphs, which clock at about 4000 years old, appear to depict a massive fertility ritual; in the above tableau, sixteen figures (10 female, 6 male) are ready to get down to some prehistoric business.

Dr. Davis Kimball, Director at the Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads, believes the petroglyphs are a guide of some sort for cultic leaders.

“'[This] interpretation of the tableau is reasonable as follows,' she writes. 'Many personages are represented, with about half being female (priestesses) and the other half being males (priests).

'Slightly more than half the males had assumed a bisexual gender role, being ithyphallic [sporting an erect penis] and cross-dressing as priestesses with high headdresses.'”

The cultic implication also arises from the position and demeanor of the figures, which Dr. Kimball writes are ‘represented in a dance so intense that some have fallen into a trance or state of ecstasy.’

The females in these petroglyphs are identified by their distinct triangular forms, full hips and legs, and lack of phallus. That pattern of characteristics makes it particularly intriguing, as the form appears female, but is also sporting both a penis and a (dare I say, stylish) monkey mask. This is likely to mark him as some sort of shaman or spiritual leader.

The original scene also depicts an enormous female with two heads in the foreground, seemingly leading the ritual; she may be humanity’s first image of a dominating “Goddess.”

Furthering the idea of a cult ritual is the presence of ‘heraldic animals.’ Dr. Kimball identifies the pair of animals in the above tableau as ‘probably goats-- one pair markedly ithyphallic. To the ancients each image most surely represented some aspect of the ritual.'


This tableau appears to contain a number of intersex figures; they combine male and female features, sporting both phalluses and female headgear.

Throughout the scenes in the tableau, no one seems particularly concerned with the sexual parts of their partner(s). If we can assume they knew how reproduction works from the symbolism of the small human figures, then we can also assume that much of what we can see is happening for fun. Gender and sexual expression in the tableau are fluid and free, which means our ancestors likely had a lot fewer hangups than we do.

Speaking of fun, next in the tableau is a scene now commonly referred to as a prehistoric “frat party.”


In it we can spot fourteen characters, many of which are sporting erect penises, engaged in a frenzied dance. We can also spot the first image of masturbation at the bottom, shown as a solo man ejaculating a stream of small human figures.

Around the fully-formed participants are a few faces just hanging out, perhaps to indicate an audience.  It seems that some of today’s kinks and deviances are nearly as old as humans themselves. Shall we party like it’s 1000 BCE?