The rock art of the Rio Grande Gorge is extensive and varied. Eight general types have been defined. Click on each type for a simple description and accompanying examples.
Apache Rock Art of the Rio Grande Gorge
The ancestors of the Jicarilla Apache have a strong and deep presence in the Taos region (see Eiselt 2010, 2012). Tribal tradition refers to Taos as the heart of the world:
“The Jicarillas continued to circle around the place where they had come up from the underworld. Three times they went around, when the Ruler became displeased, and asked them where they wished to stop. They said, ‘In the middle of the earth;’ so he led them to a place very near to Taos and left them there, and the Taos Indians lived near them” (Mooney 1898:200).
Other stories are attached more specifically to places in the Rio Grande gorge itself:
“There was also a rock, known as Tse-nanlki’n, ‘Rock-that-runs,’ which ‘lived’ at Cieneguilla [modern Pilar, in the gorge itself], east of the Rio Grande and southwest of Taos. The Rock was alive and had a head and a mouth and used to roll after people and overtake and crush them and then swallow them. By the help of his father, the Sun, the boy [Moon-boy] shot an arrow through the rock and killed it. The rock is still there, lying on a level flat—a black rock as large as a house, with its ‘face’ to the west, and with a spot on the north and on the south side where the arrow went through, and red streaks running down from them were the blood ran down to the ground.” (Mooney 1898:208)
Still to come…