The Serpent Cave of the Baja California Peninsula

THE SERPENT CAVE - CUEVA DE LA SERPIENTE

 
 
Erle Stanley Gardner Baja California Sierra San Francisco
AUTHOR ERLE STANLEY GARDENER IS LEAD TO
THE SERPENT CAVE IN BAJA CALIFORNIA
photo credit bajanomad.com
click photo for enlargement
The Serpent Cave - Cueva de la Serpiente falls within the Archaic Great Murals Rock Art tradition, found in the central sierras of the Baja California Peninsula: San Borja, San Juan, San Francisco and Guadalupe. The two deer-headed serpents of Cueva de la Serpiente on the Baja California peninsula are spectacular and practically unique.
 
Today, the right-hand one is complete, with deer-like ears and antlers and a long banded body. The left-hand one has lasted less well and only the head is preserved; the rest of the serpent was painted on a section of rock that fell away. The mural is almost 8 metres wide, with more than 50 diminuitive human and animal figures.
 
During his expeditions in the 1970's Harry W. Crosby was overwhelmed by the cave painting of Cueva de la Serpiente; an extraordinary composition that appeared to be painted by one artist. He claimed that no other site displayed such 'fanciful' creatures or such an interrelated theme. Despite the human and deer motifs resembling the other cave painting sites in Baja California, Cueva de la Serpiente was very individual phenomenon.

HARRY W. CROSBY 1970'S BAJA EXPEDITIONS - DOCUMENTARY FILM

 

ANALYZING THE ROCK ART OF BAJA CALIFORNIA

 
Serpent Cave Cueva de la Serpiente Baja California Sierra San Francisco
 
In a research paper 'Cueva de la Serpiente: Interpretive Analysis of an Archaic Great Mural Rock Art Panel' by Roberto Martínez, Larissa Mendoza and Ramón Viñas (2012) the authors explain that snakes are very uncommon in the Great Mural imagery, which makes the case of the two a horned snakes with fish-like tails that preside the panel at Cueva de la Serpiente practically unique.
 
They offer several interpretations of this Great Mural rock art panel, found in Arroyo del Parral within the San Francisco Sierra. The panel composition, thematic, colour pallet, and site orientation, as well as ethnographical analogy and the contextual examination, are all important indicators for such interpretations. The motifs shown on the site's rock art are associated with concepts that refer to creation myths; death and the cyclical renewal of life and the seasons. The central figure of the horned serpent is present throughout the American continent and prevails in the worldview of several native cultures.
Serpent Cave Cueva de la Serpiente Baja California Sierra San Francisco
CUEVA DE LA SERPIENTE
click photo for enlargement
Serpent Cave Cueva de la Serpiente Baja California Sierra San Francisco
THE SERPENT CAVE BAJA CALIFORNIA
click photo for enlargement
They conclude that the horned serpent is associated to water, abundance and fecundity. The two facing snakes at Cueva de la Serpiente seem to symbolize the opposition of youth - the early rain season and its wealth of resources in life - and old age - dry and sterile. Many native American world views are based on duality and binary oppositions, which seem to constitute the panel's subject: the wet season generates life and, the dry season, death. Moreover, human and animal life is created, transformed and renewed. In this way, the equinox serpent of light and shadow might reflect the marking of a moment, when the dry season ends and new life begins. The horned serpents in the panel of Cueva de la Serpiente refer us to the seasonal transition from abundance to scarcity, as well as to the individual's personal transition through life, and the process of renewal and the creation of new life.
Serpent Cave Cueva de la Serpiente Baja California Sierra San Francisco
CUEVA DE LA SERPIENTE
click photo for enlargement
Serpent Cave Cueva de la Serpiente Baja California Sierra San Francisco
THE SERPENT CAVE BAJA CALIFORNIA
click photo for enlargement
 
Like us on Facebook & Follow us on Twitter to receive news & updates:
 
Baja California Archive
Baja California - In Search of Painted Caves - Film DVD & Download
Bradshaw Foundation Homepage
 
bradshaw foundation donate help
Mailing List

Email Sign-Up
website updates

Email

First Name

Last Name

Country

Podcast
bradshaw foundation podcast
iShop
bradshaw foundation ishop tshirt
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Join the free Mailing List Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Birnin Kudu Rock Art Center Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Baja California Film Coso Range Talking Stone Film Nevada Oregon Territory Moab, Utah Clovis First Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Ian Wilson Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Avebury Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Introduction Peterborough Petroglyphs Western Canadian Rock Art Writing-On-Stone Wuikinuxv Territory Dinosaur Provincial Park Archive Index Huashan Rock Art Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Rouffignac Cave Portable Art Defining Rock Art Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Preservation & Education Dr. V. S. Wakankar Articles on India Rock Art Contemporary Art Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Scandinavian Rock Art Archive Scandinavian Introduction Alta Rock Art Norway Rock Art in Finland Tanum Rock Art Sweden Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Banksy Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation