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Photographer's Note

(By request and dedicated to Jason -- jcpix)

The Baja California peninsula holds many hidden treasures. Among them are the "Pinturas Rupestres," pre-Columbian cave paintings in many of the deep canyons that slice through the volcanic plateau. Very little is known of the people who created these images. Some of them may be as much as 7,500 years old. (If you read Spanish, you can consult this link.) The indigenous peoples told the Spanish conquistadores that they were painted by an ancient race of giants.

It is likely that many of these pinturas have not yet been discovered or studied. The Baja California peninsula is largely a volcanic plateau in a desert climate. When rain comes, it is most often from a tropical storm or hurricane. The area may "average" 5 inches of rain per year -- but often that means that every 2d or 3d year, 10-15 inches of rain falls in one day. Over the millenia, these deluges have cut deep arroyos into the plain. Most of the pinturas have been found in these endless canyons.

We had the good fortune to see these paintings while on a Green Tortoise tour. We left from Mulege with a guide who took us by 4-wheel-drive up into the hills, to a beautiful rancho. Burros grazed on an open field of cactus -- cholla, ocotillo, and card鏮. We walked out into the field and encountered a nearly hidden descent into an arroyo that became 20 meters deep, as shown in an earlier post I called, "Prehistoric Paintings Ahead." The site of the paintings was surprisingly large and open. I'll post a WS that may give a little better sense of the area. The figure here and the deer-like animal were roughly life-size. The artists had "signed" their work in a manner that evoked an eery immediacy with us -- look at the left of the frame for their handprints.

You may apply your own interpretation to the scene depicted. The white animal seems to have its tongue hanging and is upside-down, indicating it has been killed. Is the man dancing in celebration? And is the vivid red figure with the antlers above the man's head a spirit guide?

There were many other drawings, including obvious fish (the red figure towards the upper right may be one) and whale figures, and many other handprints. I'll try to post a few others in the days to come.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 258 W: 90 N: 498] (2182)
  • Genre: 人物
  • Medium: 彩色
  • Date Taken: 2001-02-07
  • Categories: Ruins
  • Camera: Kodak DC280
  • Exposure:f/4.8, 1/90 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version:Original Version, Workshop
  • Date Submitted: 2013-08-23 9:29
Viewed: 1353
Points: 28
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Additional Photos by Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 258 W: 90 N: 498] (2182)
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