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Paul Wilson | all galleries >> Southwest Trips >> Favorite Images From Various Southwest Trips > Black Dragon pictograph
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Black Dragon pictograph

This is an image of what appears to be a dragon-like creature. In fact this canyon was named after the panel. Unfortunately, this may not be a representation of a dragon-like creature or a flying creature of any kind. A recent study has produced a different interpretation of the panel. Five different motifs may actually be combined to create the dragon image. In particular, two small quadrupeds making up the tip of the left wing, a left facing anthropomorph with outstreached arms (which creates the left wing, body, legs and tail of the dragon), a right facing figure (forming the head, neck, and beak), and a large serpent with mouth open forming the right wing.

The dragon idea became popular in the 1940s and its form became "cemented" through the use of chalk outlining which (in its fancifulness) only reinforces the dragon imagery. The chalk outlining can't be removed without damage to the panel.

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