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Queen Califia's Magical Circle - Escondido, CA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Metro2
N 33° 04.812 W 117° 03.772
11S E 494132 N 3660179
Quick Description: Queen Califia's Magical Circle is a 12 acre site featuring wonderful and whimsical works by the late Niki de Saint Phalle.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 6/2/2013 8:11:46 AM
Waymark Code: WMH72B
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 1

Long Description:
Wikipedia (visit link) has all the info:

"Queen Califia's Magical Circle is a sculpture garden located in Escondido, California. It is one of the last works of French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The garden is named after Califia, the fictional warrior queen of the mythical Island of California, and inspired by California's rich history and culture. It includes a circular wall and maze entryway, ten large sculptures, and native trees and shrubs planted both inside the plaza and around the outer wall.

The garden is part of a 12-acre habitat in Kit Carson Park's Iris Sankey Arboretum, and was opened to the public on October 26, 2003.

Materials and construction

The garden's wall is covered mostly in Mexican pebble stones, while the snakes and other sculptures are clad in many thousands of hand-cut glass, ceramic and stone mosaic tiles. Some wall segments are also decorated with ceramic plaques engraved with Native American rock art and other symbols, as well as handprints and signatures from Saint Phalle's family and art team. Queen Califia herself is embellished with hand-cut mirrored glass, while the fountain uses gold leaf glass and is controlled by a solar-powered pump.

The wall, maze and sculptures were constructed using polystyrene encased in a polyurethane skin, with applied fiberglass coating over a steel armature. The designs were based on Saint Phalle's original maquettes, with the aid of computer modeling and prototyping.

Sculptural features

A rippling 400-foot "snake" wall, ranging between four and nine feet in height, forms the perimeter of the garden. Colorful mosaic serpent sculptures are positioned along the top of the wall. The single entrance opens onto a "maze" whose short walls are covered in black, white and mirrored mosaic tiles. After navigating the maze, visitors can enter the courtyard where the ten primary sculptures are located.

The garden houses a total of ten freestanding sculptures—Califia, the fountain and the eight totems—which are influenced by an eclectic combination of Native American, pre-Columbian and Mexican art.

Queen Califia, Egg Fountain and Eagle Throne [edit]In the center of the garden is an 11-foot mosaic sculpture of Queen Califia in gold glass armor, standing atop a 13-foot eagle and raising a bird above her head. Visitors can walk between the eagle's legs and into a domed temple adorned with celestial symbols and plaques from another sculpture garden by Saint Phalle, the Tarot Garden. In the middle of the plaza is a golden egg-shaped fountain, which represents both Califia's magical reign over the sea and the birth-death-transformation cycle that serves as a recurring theme in Saint Phalle's works.

Totem figures

Eight totem sculptures measuring between 11 and 21 feet tall surround Califia. They are covered with stylized symbols, creatures, and animals that played important roles in the mythologies of various indigenous peoples. The eagle is an especially prominent part of the work, as it figures significantly in Native American and indigenous Mexican legends. It also recurs frequently in Saint Phalle's other works."
Garden Name: Queen Califia's Magical Circle

Owner/Commissioner of Garden: City of Escondido

Location: Kit Carson Park

Escondido, CA USA

Hours: sunrise to sunset

Fees?: no

Garden Website: [Web Link]


Parking Coordinates: Not Listed

Visit Instructions:
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Metro2 visited Queen Califia's Magical Circle  -  Escondido, CA 9/29/2010 Metro2 visited it