Two ice cores drilled to the bottom were recovered from Miaoergou flat-topped glacier (43°03'19“N, 94°19'21“E; 4512 ma.s.l.), eastern Tien Shan, central Asia, in 2005. A high–resolution record of cadmium was established by applying inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to one of the ice cores (57.6 m), covering a 228 year period from AD 1776 to 2004. The results showed long-term variations of atmospheric transport and deposition of cadmium at high altitudes. Trend analysis based on the sequential Mann-Kendall test and the analysis of crustal enrichment factors of the cadmium shows that natural contribution, mainly from rock and mineral dust, dominated the atmospheric cycles of cadmium during the period AD 1776–1957, which was confirmed by the significant correlation between the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index and annual cadmium concentration. The concentration of cadmium increased sharply from AD 1957 to 2004, suggesting increasing influence from human activities, such as metals production. The ice–core record indicated increasing atmospheric cadmium pollution in response to rapid economic growth after AD 1957 in the region.