In this slideshow I have selected some of my favorite images from the ceiling of Cueva San Borjitas. This panorama, made from several images, shows the entire ceiling of the cave.
As I study the rock art I see patterns in painting details and in relationships among the figures. I will mention what I see in the images, but mainly this slideshow showcases the incredible paintings. (LDS)
DStretch was born in 2005 when I got excited over the enhancement of this figure and decided to put more effort into the decorrelation stretch algorithm.
Since 2005 I have added many different enhancements like this LDS enhancement. This is the only figure done entirely in yellow. It differs in several details (the head, shoulders) from the scarecrows which were also painted using yellow paint (see later slides for examples).
Recently I have been toying with a new enhancement idea: combine two using the minimum of each image. This is the minimum of YYE and YRD. Our eyes have a hard time with yellows and it can greatly help visualization to change the yellow to a dark color.
There are only a few (five by my count) female monos in the cave. Females are shown by breasts pointing out of the armpits. Three of the five are paired with a smaller male mono. Here the female is on the left. (LDS)
The second pair is below the first. Again the female is on the left. (When I say left I always mean left side of the photo. We don't know if the monos are facing us or turned away.) (YRD)
This unenhanced image shows both pairs. Are they mothers and sons? The black face patch in the woman's head at upper left is unusual. It is similar to figures at El Carrizo, Los Monos de San Juan and in the Sierra de San Francisco at Raton and Palmarito.
This is the third pair, more crudely drawn. In this image the small red mono at center left is the male, the female is to the right. (YRD)
The yellow fish, called a tintorera (shark) by Dahlgren. The polka dot mono below the fish is one of the oldest figures. It has ears. Ears are not usually shown in great mural human figures, but there are six examples here, a trait unique to San Borjitas.
Red paint outlines the lower fin of the smaller fish. The solid red mono to the right of the polka dot mono has shoulder pads. There are many monos in this cave with shoulder pads. (LDS)
There are two versions of the fish or maybe one fish on top of the other. (Min of LYE,YRD)
Right of the fish is this poorly preserved mono with arms pointing down. It is the only such figure in the cave.
It is called "el de los brazos caídos"
(arms down) by Dahlgren. There are many monos with arms down in the Sierra de San Borja far to the north.(YBK)
Above "arms down". The fourth woman is at the upper right. An unusually long male red/black mono with ears is at lower center.
I wonder if the long mono was drawn that way to cross the legs of other monos? Could the spatial pattern of the monos indicate actual human relationships? (LRE)
"El muerto", named by Dahlgren. It has ears. On the left is a red/black mono with a headdress that looks like a pair of sheep horns.
At left a small mono can be seen over the right leg of the red/black mono. There are several similar occurances. (YYE)
Another view of several monos that we have seen already. The central mono has dark fingers on the left hand and white fingers on the right hand. Is this a precursor of the striking asymmetry of the red/black figures?
The central mono is one of the iconic figures of San Borjitas. This type of mono was called "Cardón"
by Dahlgren (after the cactus). Diguet thought the ceiling depicted a combat scene strewn with dead. (Min of LYE,YRD)
This colorful checkerboard mono is called "el cuadriculado"
by Dahlgren. There is a red/black mono with headdress on the right, and another at upper left mostly out of the image.
There is a faint small mono at left center drawn over the legs of the left red/black mono. (LDS)
Details of the yellow drawing. Note the shoulder pads. "El cuadriculado"
differs from a scarecrow (see later slides for examples) in the treatment of the head and arms. (YYE)
Above "el muerto"
is a figure with two monos drawn on top of each other. On top is a red/black with a headdress.
Underneath is a yellow scarecrow with a red head that extends above the red/black mono's headdress. The left arm is yellow-brown, the other is red-brown. Later slides have clearer examples of scarecrows. (LDS)
Here we can see the details of the scarecrow body. DStretch enhancement pulls out the yellow paint. (Min of LRE,LYE)
This mono is near the front of the ceiling. Figures like this with straight arms, elliptical heads, and painted in yellows and reds were called "espantajos"
(scarecrows) by Dahlgren.
The left arm is yellow, the other red. The legs are similarly colored. Scarecrows were considered to be the oldest figures by Dahlgren. This is the only place where a scarecrow overlaps a cardón (on left). (LDS)
Soneone has tried to erase (by pecking the paint away) the strange small creature ("El Sapo") beneath the scarecrow. The small solid red mono to the right of the scarecrow has one straight and one bent leg. There are several other such monos on the ceiling. (LRE)
In this image the scarecrow seems on top of (i.e. younger then) the cardón. Notice the unfinished small mono over the left leg of the red/black mono at top left.(Min of LYE,YRD)
This is a fascinating heavily painted area. We will see that there are three vertical monos in the center. From left to right: A yellow striped mono, a polka dot mono and a yellow scarecrow.
There are two horizontal monos painted over the vertical ones. The horizontal mono at top center has a striking head decoration. Its leg is bent upwards. Another horizontal mono is in the center. We see its red half. The big red crescent is a headdress. (LDS)
There is a small red/black mono over the left leg of the yellow mono at left center and a smaller mono with red horizontal body stripes over the left leg of the scarecrow at right center. Gutiérrez sees the central polka dot mono as female.(RGB0)
The small mono with red lines is male, has red horizontal lines in the body, red vertical lines in the head, and red ears. (Min of LYE,YRD)
We move down a little and center on the black deer.
The red horizontal mono with the big headdress has an arm that extends down between the polka dot mono's legs. The crudely drawn male (a Cardón?) left of the deer has a bent leg. (LDS)
There is a curious red blob inside the deer and another red blob above and to the left of the deer. A faint line goes from it diagonally across the leg behind it. (LRE)
Closeup of the deer.
The deer has small forked antlers. Its feet and dew claws are carefully drawn. (LDS)
A better view of the red blobs. The one in the deer is crude, the one above and to the left is much better drawn and seems to attach to a line. (LRE)
A polka dot mono with headdress and ears, called "El Coyote"
by Dahlgren. There is a small solid red mono over its left foot.
There is a red blob hanging on a line from its hand on the left. Dahlgren thought it was a "medicine bundle", Campbell Grant thought it was a feathered fan. It may be just an incomplete figure. (LDS)
A scarecrow mono near the center of the cave. Dahlgren felt the scarecrows were the oldest figures. It is clearly under the red/black mono, but it is not clear whether it is above (seems so to me) or below "arms down".
One hand is yellow, the other red. It has one shoulder pad, the other may have flaked off. (Min of LYE,YRD)
This yellow scarecrow is at the left of the cave.
The left hand is yellow the other is red. It seems clearly on top of the polka dot mono above. (LDS)
There is a crude white mono drawn on top. (LWE)
The mono with white hair is near the back of the ceiling below the yellow mono. A better name would be "el poderoso anciano" because the "hair" may represent an aura of power according to Lucero Gutiérrez, the INAH archaeologist studying the cave.
It has ears and shoulder pads. Gutiérrez feels the head looks as if the figure is praying or in a trance. At lower right is the fifth woman. (YRD)
There is a large mono done in white at the left of the woman.
Above the woman are a faint red fish to the left and a deer? to the right. Last slide. (LRE)