Diegueno Ground Painting

This feature is near the Snake/Bird rock formation and is clearly visible from space. Is it really a ground painting?

  • Diegueno Ground Painting Satellite Image
    DieguenoGroundPaintingSatelliteImage.jpg

  • Closer satellite image of the circular ground painting:
    DieguenoGroundPaintingSatelliteImageCloser274x263.jpg


Diagram of Ground Painting from Waterman, Plate 24, Univ. Cal. Publ. Am. Arch. & Ethn. Vol 8

Ground Painting make by Manuel Lachuso, an old man of Santa Ysabel. He had forgotten the precise location of the milky way, sun, new moon, and old moon, so they are omitted. He made no mention of toloache morters.
  1. Atoloi, with mountain on an island, identified by the informant with Coronado Island.
  2. Myapukxauna, mountain where people were created.
  3. Wikaiyai, San Bernardino mountain.
  4. Axatu, Santa Catalina Mountain.
  5. Awi, rattlesnake
  6. Etcekurlk, wolf.
  7. Xatca, Pleiades.
  8. Namul, bear.
  9. Nyimatai, panther.
  10. "Cross Star"
  11. Sair, buzzard star.
  12. Xawitai, grass or blue garter snake.
  13. Xilkair, red racer snake.
  14. Awiyuk, gopher snake.
  15. Watun, "shooting" constellation.
  16. Amu, mountain sheep, tree stars of Orion.
  17. Spitting Hole, diamter of about 8 inches.
  18. Horizon, forming the visible limits of the earth.


Here is a description of a ground painting, from Spier: Southern Diegueno Customs, Pg. 319. It recounts the experiences of a boy after drinking Jimson weed tea. The references do not correspond to the figure above, but gives you a sense of what is normally in the ground painting.

Two days after drinking, when I recovered, they led me in the daytime from the shade to the dance ground in order to show me the ground painting. First my entire body was painted with black charcoal, then placing a morsel of salt meat in their mouths, they blew a little saliva on me. The ground painting was made and explained by Xai'im. The central figure (a) represented HatotkEu'r, the Milky Way, whose on both sides local geographic features, and the outer figures, the constellations, as follows: (b) Wi'toloi, Viejas Mountain near Descanso, (c) Xiwi' a rock in the ocean near San Diego (the Coronados?), (d) Wikaiyai', San Jacinto mountain, (g) WikEmu'n, Picacho mountain in Mexico (h) Sahai', a mountain east of Picacho mountain, (i) Xatai' a spring nearby, (j) Pomiyai' Ha'RpE (Pomiyai's a spirit's, entrance?) east of Xatai', (k) Xakwinnyimcop (white water), far east of the Picacho, (l) Ciluk, a constellation (m) Ci'i, the constellation "buzzard", (n) Amu', the constellation "Mountain Sheep," (three stars, perhaps Orion), (o) Koxo'a'p, the jealous star, and (p) Xitca, Pleiedes. The Milky Way was represented by a braided cord of milkweed fiber, for fingers in width.
I note that kuchumaa is not mentioned.



Diagram of Ground Painting from Waterman, Plate 25, Univ. Cal. Publ. Am. Arch. & Ethn. Vol 8

Ground Painting make by Antonio Maces and Jo Waters, old men at Mesa Grande.
  1. Kalmo and Witurt, toloache mortar and pestle.
  2. (same as 1)
  3. (same as 1)
  4. Awi, rattlesnake.
  5. Awi, rattlesnake.
  6. Xatatkurl, milky way.
  7. Amut kwaptcurpai, world's edge. There is some doubt as to the correct color for this figure.
  8. Halyaxai, new moon.
  9. Halya, full moon.
  10. Inyau, sun.
  11. Hatapa, coyote
  12. Sair, buzzard star.
  13. Crow
  14. Kalturt, black spider.
  15. Katckurlk, wolf
  16. Amu, mountain-sheep, Orion.
  17. Hatca, Pleiades
  18. Awi-nil, black snake.
  19. Awi-yuk, gopher snake.
  20. Mountains
  21. Mountains
  22. Mountains
  23. Mountains
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
DieguenoGroundPainting1096x1102.jpgjpg DieguenoGroundPainting1096x1102.jpg manage 263 K 26 Jun 2014 - 21:22 Raymond Lutz Diagram of Ground Painting from Waterman, Univ. Cal. Publ. Am. Arch. & Ethn. Vol 8
DieguenoGroundPainting2-1074x1318.jpgjpg DieguenoGroundPainting2-1074x1318.jpg manage 257 K 26 Jun 2014 - 21:22 Raymond Lutz Another example of Deigueno Ground Painting
DieguenoGroundPaintingSatelliteImage.jpgjpg DieguenoGroundPaintingSatelliteImage.jpg manage 101 K 26 Jun 2014 - 21:22 Raymond Lutz  
DieguenoGroundPaintingSatelliteImageCloser274x263.jpgjpg DieguenoGroundPaintingSatelliteImageCloser274x263.jpg manage 30 K 26 Jun 2014 - 21:22 Raymond Lutz Closer satellite image of the circular ground painting
Topic revision: r8 - 11 Mar 2015, RaymondLutz
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