The Cave Paintings of Baja California

The Sierra de San Francisco

Page 9 of 10

At its mouth, the cave of La Candelaria is about 100 feet wide and 40 feet high and its interior is complex in form. The opening faces west and the northern part of the cave is quite shallow with a nearly vertical back wall. The southern portion is much deeper, running back 50 feet or so from the entry. Between these dissimilar areas is a structure unique to La Candelaria: A sort of natural staircase leads from the central part of the cave up to a point quite close to the ceiling and near the center of the back wall.

This ready-made scaffolding was not wasted by the Painters. Exactly at its top, we found the supremely beautiful deer of La Candelaria, its antler-crowned head thrown back as if in the agony of the chase. This image, in spite of its damaged condition, asserts itself in any company as an expressive work of art.

There was a bond between artist and animal. Whatever their motives for decorating caves, the Painters displayed an affinity for the creatures they pictured. Deer are shown impaled by arrows or spears; with legs broken by throwing sticks; or gasping, open-mouthed, perhaps run down in a chase. Nevertheless, the grace and symmetry of the animals shine through. These animals were not merely pieces of meat on the hoof; they were given spirits.

baja rock art paintings california

La Candelaria I

baja rock art paintings california

La Candelaria I

Elsewhere, as well, the cave proved to be a treasure house. Much, much art has been irrevocably lost to erosion, but the surviving works include a high percentage of rare and beautiful images. The last major figure at the north end depicts a berrendo (above right) in the Painters' best bicolored tradition. This and the all-red berrendo at La Palma are among the few representations of this animal found in peninsular art, and this is the finest of the lot. The drawing and execution are exemplary and the image apparently includes a rare example of the Painters' techniques for suggesting animation; in this case the animal was given two pairs of forelegs, one thrust down and the other forward. Laid over the antelope's body is the painting of a slim arrow with a well-defined point. Abstract, semi-geometric figures occupy wall spaces adjacent to the antelope image. Above the antelope is a shield-shaped white outline filled in with a carefully painted checkerboard in alternating hues of black and ochre-yellow. Below the antelope is another prominent checkerboard done all in ochre. Only three painted images that can confidently be identified as antelope. This example shows the long neck and short body common to all three.

Introduction to the Cave Paintings of Baja California
Harry W. Crosby - About the Author
The Sierra de San Francisco | Page | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |
Baja Rock Paintings Style Table |

American Rock Art Archive |

bradshaw foundation donate help
Mailing List

Email Sign-Up
website updates


First Name

Last Name


bradshaw foundation podcast
bradshaw foundation ishop dvd
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 Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Coso Range Nevada Oregon Territory 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 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 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 Portable Art Research Paper 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 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 Tanum Rock Art Museum 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 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