Saturday, November 24, 2012


#1 - Petroglyphs, North of Soccorro, Richard Colman, 2012

#2 - Mystery masks, North of Soccorro, Richard Colman, 2012.

One of the real fascinations of rock art in the American southwest is to try to match features of the faces or mask depictions in rock art to features of the kachinas of Pueblo religion. For instance, the face in the top center of photo #1 has the unique face painting found primarily in the Hopi Polik Mana (Butterfly maiden) (Colton 1959:48) and Salako Mana (Shalako maiden) (Colton 1959:47; and Fewkes 1985:Plate LVI).
Photo #2 shows a row of repeating faces (masks) identically portrayed with what looks like a floppy peaked hat on the head and a horizontal line painted across the middle of each face. While cursory examination of my reference books turned up a couple of kachinas with this sort of horizontal line across the middle of the face I could not find one with both that line and this distinctive headgear. Yet here it was important enough to the artist to repeat it identically three times. What did he have in mind?

These fascinating petroglyphs were photographed by Richard Colman at a site north of Soccorro, New Mexico. Richard has graciously given me permission to use these pictures (as well as others on occasion).
Richard is the source of the spectacular rock art photography in Check out his site and share the wonder.


Colton, Harold S., Hopi Kachina Dolls, 1959, Univ. of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque

Fewkes, Jesse Walter, Hopi Katcinas, 1985, Dover Pub., New York

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