The Helan Mountains, frequently called Alashan Mountains in older sources, are an isolated desert mountain range forming the border of Inner Mongolia's Alxa league and Ningxia.
They are about 200 km from north to south, and highest peak is 3,556 metres (11,667 ft).They run north-south parallel to the north-flowing yellow river in the ordos loop section. The river is mostly east of the mountains, but in the north it crosses without making a significant gorge and flows on the west side. To the west is severe desert. To the east is an irrigated area with the towns of Yinchuan and Shizuishan.
Thousands of paintings of various themes have so far been found in Helan Mountains. According to research, the paintings were made from the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC) to the Western Xia Dynasty (1038-1227) by folk artists of northern nomadic tribes, the themes of which include herding, hunting, battles, animals, human and special symbols, and some of them are very exquisite in color. Rock paintings at the Helan Entrance are very typical in the region. 2,194 rock paintings have been found, keeping track of the real life of China's northern nomadic tribes. The paintings are important for the research of primitive art.