California rock art confirms: culture is subconscious

California’s Painted Rock includes a very long rock art panel in a semi-geometric style typical of herder cultures generally, comparable to much of western North American art. Some of the features and styling are distinctive to this site. Despite the length, and apparent separation of the long panel into four separate groups, there are only about eighteen semi-naturalistic characters (people or animals) in the panel, inviting structural analysis of their attributes and relative spacing (Reconstruction from photographs and drawings by Campbell Grant. Mindprint labels and axial grid added by Edmond Furter. Colour inverted for clarity. Image length condensed to separate relative spacing).

[UPDATE 2016; See structural analyses of buildings, villages, temples, complexes, pyramid fields, geoglyphs and cities at http://www.stoneprint.wordpress.com

My second book, Stoneprint, the human code in art, buildings and cities (400 pages, 130 illustrations), demonstrates that cultural grammar, or the periodic table of culture, is innate, and readable in all our works.]

Painted Rock, California (Campbell Grant. Mindprint labels and axial grid added by Edmond Furter, 2016). This is a myth map, and subconscious expression of archetypal structure. It is not a star map, despite the inclusion of some constellations, such as Gemini on the right.
Painted Rock, California (Campbell Grant. Mindprint labels and axial grid added by Edmond Furter, 2016). This is a myth map, and subconscious expression of archetypal structure. It is not a star map, despite the inclusion of some constellations, such as Gemini on the right.

Some of the features of rock art, and noted in structural analysis as frequent in all art, seem cartoonish due to the styling. However all distinctive visual features, once reduced to their basic postures, or items, could be considered cartoons (see Maurice Cotterell’s demonstration of cartoon animation in Mayan art, by moving duplicate overlays around various polar points).

Campbell Grant, who meticulously reconstructed this magnificent and mysterious rock art panel, worked at Walt Disney. However styling is no indication of spiritual or cultural complexity or quality. Some San Bushmen, and Michelangelo, sculpted and painted much better than Lapp drum illustrators, yet they, and non-artists, are equally human, and get equal benefit from a good story or song or movie (see a European settler woman’s version of some of these characters, in a new mindprint, below).

The set of archetypes in California’s Painted Rock are (in their usual sequence, with the universal average frequencies of some of the common attributes in brackets);

1 Taurus as a skin, perhaps of a buffalo (t1 is bovid in 19% of art worldwide)
2 Taurus as a burrower, or the hind paw of a large animal or skin in twisted posture (48% twisting). Some rock art express animals by their tracks or tail tufts (see Twyfelfontein engravings in Namibia). The character over the animal or skin may have hoofs (19% bovid). The character under this could be a spider.

3 Cista Mystica as an extra head of the lightning person
3 Aries as tall lightning person (42% neck long or bent). Lightning is more typical of type 2 adjacent, (see USA Cienega Mission turtle woman engraving, Mindprint p110)

4 Pisces as a peak or cliff, perhaps of Painted Rock itself. NO EYE.
4p Galactic south pole on an outline corner? (50% limb joint).

5 Aquarius20 as a peak or cliff outside Painted Rock. NO EYE.
5 Aquarius21 as a shrimp or boat (44% varicoloured, 31% hyperactive, 30% horizontal)

6 Cista Tail as extra features?
6 Capricornus as a swimmer or fish, with a proboscis or snorkel (see 6 as Pan with a flute or double flute, and 6 as Kokopelli or long-nosed characters, Mindprint p160-163); and
6 Capricornus as a turtle, far from the centre (48% polar ingress /egress). Its opposite at 14 is more often a turtle, or two turtles. Splitting of this type into two is unusual, however 6 sometimes has two heads (Mindprint p161); and
6b extra, a swimmer, more typical of 5 adjacent. NOT ON THE GRID

7 Sagittarius as a baggy person (25% bag), in wavy outlines (often with a rope).
7g Galactic centre on large human with ‘pirate’ hat. This is the only naturalistic figure whose eyes are not on the grid, but it is pictured without eyes, with a lizard? over one eye, and with unnatural eyes on top of its head.

8 Scorpius as a skin person (common in rock art worldwide), or jellyfish?
9 Scorpius as two men, arms raised in dance (9 sometimes resembles 10. Type 9 is often shown in trance. This does not imply that the artist was a healer).

10 Cista Lid as a man in the dance row.
10 Libra as the main dancer, arms in W posture (53% arms in V or W posture).

11 Virgo as a double circle (87% womb), inside Painted Rock, which resembles a vagina and womb (87% womb).
11p Galactic pole on Painted Rock entrance right side (68% limb joint).

12 Leo as a man’s heart (85% heart), standing in the nearby mountain range. Compare this mountain, perhaps Sierra Madre (in light colour, here dark due to colour inversion), with Picasso’s light bulb in his Guernica, Mindprint p103. The likeness is coincidence.
13 Leo as an animal climbing (11% inversion), on its heart (85% heart), perhaps feline (14% feline).

14 Cista Head as lightning bolt, and plant?
14 Cancer as water woman, holding two containers, between two snakes (sometimes a water snake, as in Hydra south of Cancer); between two trees (sometimes a tree). See Tarot trump 14, Temperance, as the angel of Time with two jugs.

15 Gemini as two people arm in arm (sometimes twinned), on a shrimp resembling a quipo rope (33% with a rope), behind them a bag shape (21% with a bag). Two stars above them. This is probably a conscious expression of constellation Gemini, which happens to also subconsciously express type 15 Gemini, worldly creator. The only other figure here resembling a constellation, is type 10 Libra resembling Bootes, which in the sky is north of Virgo. The design does not resemble a sky map in any projection. Mindprint uses astronomical labels to tag relevant myths, seasons, and characteristics. Artists are not astronomers.

15g Gate on two rectangular shapes, one gridded by lines (sometimes a rectangular grid. See the Coricancha mural in Peru).

The ecliptic poles are on the axial hub, unmarked as in most artworks.
The celestial pole is on an inlet shape (50% limb joint).
The celestial south pole may be on Painted Rock interior wall (37% limb joint).
The celestial polar marker, and the horizontal plan of most of the figures, place ‘midsummer’ on or near Gemini, thus ‘spring’ and the cultural inspiration or formation in Age Pisces. The work as probably made about AD 1000 or later, about the middle of Age Pisces. However this aspect of subconscious expression is always approximate. All five levels of structural expression are subconscious to artists and members of all cultures.

The overall theme could be type 14 Cancer, time and calendar; or its opposite, 6 Capricornus, scapegoat, and Pan, of music and dance.

Artworks test mindprint in turn

The informal mindprint analysis score is 19/25 attributes, 12/16 axial points (not counting the axes that lack an eye on one side), 3/5 polar markers (axial hub and two markers), 3/4 thematic features; total 37/50, minus 2 extra features off the grid; total 35/50, or 70%. This approximate score is on par with art and rock art worldwide.

Scoring of all structural analyses may change as more elements of collective subconscious cultural expression are identified. Discovery of more high frequency features would raise the scores. Discovery of more low frequency features would lower the scores, by raising the current 50 checkpoints, while few artworks would contain them. No definitive scoring of art is possible. Scoring is more of an indication of the overall validity of the mindprint test.

Validity of its separate features are already proven by statistical tests of the average frequencies of regular attributes; by 556 examples of their sequence, and axial grids, polar structures, and temporal orientations; and by only three examples of artworks with more than 11 characters where the structure could not be found.

Long and narrow, but the structure is still there

Painted Rock is the longest, narrowest artwork among the first 556 works tested, to reveal a single mindprint set, in standard sequence, on the ocular (eye-to-eye) axial rid, with the polar structure, and its temporal ‘Age’ relative to the horizontal plane of its figures (see elongated axial grids in Da Vinci’s Last Supper, Mindprint p198; and in South Africa’s Mossel Bay rock art river scene, recorded by Jeremy Hollmann, where a mindprint test revealed a double imprint).

Artists are not magicians, not astronomers

The analysis under 15 Gemini is worth repeating; Two people arm in arm (15 is sometimes twinned in art), on a shrimp resembling a quipo rope (33% on average in art with a rope), behind them a bag shape (21% with a bag). Two stars above them. This is probably a conscious expression of constellation Gemini, which happens to also subconsciously express type 15 Gemini, worldly creator.

The only other figure here resembling a constellation, is type 10 Libra resembling Bootes, which in the sky is north of Virgo. The design does not resemble a sky map in any projection. Mindprint uses astronomical labels to tag relevant myths, seasons, and characteristics. Artists are not astronomers.

Also note that several American cultures used dark nebulae on the galactic equator as constellations (dark figures in this reversed images are white). No row of nebulae, such as Fox, Llama and others, is apparent.

Painted Rock inspires myth and fantasy

Painted Rock in Californa is in San Luis Obispo county, on the Carrizo Plain. It is a free-standing marine sandstone outcrop near the Sierra Madre range, at the southern tip of the Great Central Valley. In the interior alcove of the horseshoe-shaped rock, are pictographs by Chumash, or Salinan, or Yokut Americans. Entrance to the horseshoe is on the north. The elevation profile from some angles resembles a turtle.

The main rock art panel is 250 feet across and 45 feet tall. The section analysed here is not the entire panel. The site is near Soda Lake, in the Carrizo Plain National Monument, west of Bakersfield, 70 miles (110 km) east of San Luis Obispo, 45 miles (72 km) west of Taft. The art is in red, black and white yucca pigments, and some yellow, green and blue, with rodent tail hair brushes, or finger painting. Yokut art often include large colorful figures and motifs. Some are made Chumash art of small elements, circular andalas, and complex red, black and white panels. The Goodwin Education Center is near Painted Rock.

Fauna in the area include rattlesnake, burrowing kangaroo rat, San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, giant kangaroo rat, San Joaquin antelope squirrel, marine turtles, shrimps.

Some other sites are also named ‘Painted Rock’. The name Piedra Pintada could be confused with Pedra Pintada in Brazil.

Some ink drawings of the pictographs were sketched in the 1870s by pioneer resident Mary Brumley Noyes. See structural analysis of one of her drawings in Furter 2014; Mindprint p138. Lulu.com. Here is an extract;

California's Painted Rock panel in a partial copy. Mary Brumley Noyes, pen an ink on paper. Mindprint labels and axial grid added by Edmond Furter. The copyist expressed some elements in a new structure, typical of 'traditional' art programmes, and of free hand copies
California’s Painted Rock panel in a partial copy. Mary Brumley Noyes, pen an ink on paper. Mindprint labels and axial grid added by Edmond Furter. The copyist expressed some elements in a new structure, typical of ‘traditional’ art programmes, and of free hand copies.

 

 

 

New world, new culture, same shapes
Types 5 Aquarius20 and 21 is expressed as a world spirit in this free-hand copy of some of the characters in a large rock art panel in California (Pioneer settler, Mary Brumley Noyes. Ink pen on paper. Mindprint analysis by Edmond Furter). The main figure is a large, horizontal, active, composite, dappled, benedicting healer, river baptiser, or nature spirit, as Aquarius often is, partly in his occasional vesica piscis halo, here around his head, conflated with some 6 Capricornus attributes (see an African antelope man-boat with mushrooms. See a lightning woman in another USA rock art image).

11 Virgo is expressed as a shrimp or boat, and autumn marker (see the Egyptian Hierakonpolis disc as stylistic parallel). 7g Galactic Centre is a luminary, as it often is.

Some features are semi-geometric, and many are assumed to be ‘cultural and traditional’, such as the animal skins on the left; and 10 Libra as a kachina doll, a ritual pageant mascot typical of Hopi culture (Gary A David; Orion zone). The original work has some unique features, such as the bandy legs, localised stylistic elements.

Mindprint remains independent of conscious meanings, with enough symbolic overlap to make the subconscious typological sequence apparent. The axial pattern is never apparent, revealed only in the sequence, itself identified only when reduced from its cryptic cultural disguise to universal attributes, such as shape, gender, posture and function.

The original work, and the copy, are notable for elegance (simplicity), and for hovering between geometry and figures, between ‘absstract’ and figurative. Both versions demonstrate that provenance (time, place, source and cultural context) remain subordinate to universal and timeless structure, however seemingly conceptual in inspiration.

The ecliptic pole is on the main figure’s elbow.
Celestial poles on an extra elbow on the left, and the lightning bolt or water arm, provide a gauge through the preceding Ages up to the 15 Gemini axis,
midsummer to Age Pisces, confirmed by the horizontal plane.

A celestial polar marker in the southern hemisphere (here the lower triangle) on the upper hand or club, confirms the inspirational tag as Age Pisces.

Here is an analysis of the Hierakonpolis disc for comparison;

Hierakonpolis disc, Egypt. Mindprint labels and axial grid added by Edmond Furter.
Hierakonpolis disc, Egypt. Mindprint labels and axial grid added by Edmond Furter.

A romantic novel, The Painted Rock: A legend, by Myron Angel in 1910, was inspired by the Californian Painted Rock site. Many of Angel’s fictitious fancies have since become regarded as historical and ethnographical fact (Whitley, DS, 2007; National Historic Landmark Nomination).

See more art analysis examples, and text on the philosophy and psychology of archetype, and on structural anthropology, on www.edmondfurter.wordpress.com

Comments are welcome on that blog, or this blog

See an article on structural rock art analysis in Expressions 9, edited by Prof Emmanuel Anati, at http://www.atelier-etno.it/e-journal-expression/

Order the book Mindprint, by Edmond Furter (2014), with 200 art and rock art illustrations, a critique of cognitive archaeology and art history, references, and an index of 400 tested artworks, from www.Lulu.com

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