Huichol Symbolism and the Interpretation of Rock Art in the Western Sierra of Jalisco Mexico

Author(s): Joseph Mountjoy

Year: 2015


The Huichol are not known to have inhabited the western sierra of Jalisco in historic times. However, it has been possible to use Huichol symbolism to interpret rock art at several locations in this region. This was first done with the large pictograph panel at La Peña Pintada in the Tomatlan river valley, indicating the use of the sun’s position on the eastern horizon as a dry season/wet season calendar and individual pictographs depicting plants and animals important for native subsistence. Subsequently, Huichol symbolism was used in the valley of Mascota to interpret petroglyphs in the Canon del Ocotillo as they relate to the transitional dry season/wet season Huichol ceremony of the Sacred Deer Hunt, done preparatory to planting. Most recently, Huichol symbolism has been used to understand associated deer and scorpion petroglyphs at the El Bordo II site as they relate to the growing season of maize. The El Bordo II petroglyphs can be dated to about 2,000 years ago, suggesting that major sites of rock art may have been visited seasonally over perhaps hundreds of years in order to conduct rituals related to the agricultural cycle.

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Cite this Record

Huichol Symbolism and the Interpretation of Rock Art in the Western Sierra of Jalisco Mexico. Joseph Mountjoy. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395801)


Huichol Jalisco Rock Art

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;