Queen Califia's Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project created by Niki de Saint Phalle (born France, 1930-2002). Inspired by California's mythic, historic and cultural roots, the garden consists of nine large-scale sculptures inside a circular "snake wall" and maze entryway, sculpturally integrated bench seating, and native shrubs and trees planted within the interior plaza and along the outer perimeter. The nine freestanding sculptures integrate symbols and forms
freely drawn from Native American, Pre-Columbian, and Mexican art as well as the artist's own fantastic imagery.
Join me as I walk to, around - to get glimpses of the delights inside - and then we go inside and out again and away.
Time of walking tour: approx 15 minutes;
Suggested musical accompaniment:
"Cumbees" by Los Otros, off the album, "Tinto"
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Queen Califia's Magical Circle is situated within a 12-acre natural habitat in the Iris Sankey Arboretum in Kit Carson Park on a parcel of land donated by the City of Escondido. The park's entrance is located five minutes from I-15 (Via Rancho Parkway Exit) at the corner of Bear Valley Parkway and Mary Lane.
More about Queen Califia
Califia's life and land "at the right hand of the Indies" were described in a novel written about 1510, by Garcia Ordonez Rodriguez de Montalvo, a Spanish writer, and was entitled "Las Serges des Esplandian." To some extent, this document helped to precipitate the Spanish hunt for gold in North America. In fact, thirty years later, when the explorer Cortes landed with his crew in what is known today as Baja California, it is said that he announced to his men (of which 300 were of African descent) that they had arrived in Califia's land. By 1770, the entire Pacific coast controlled by Spain had been given the name California, and the Spanish speaking people who lived there were called Californios.