Sunday, April 01, 2007

Shrine of the Stone Lion

Schlepp had an interesting weekend. Instead of traveling somewhere exotic and faraway, he traveled to someplace exotic and nearby. With an eclectic group of fellow hikers he climbed an obscure mesa in central New Mexico and visited the ancient and little-known Stone Lion Shrine at its eastern rim.

True, there is a well-known Stone Lions Shrine just north in Bandelier National Monument with its two famous carved lions, but this is a single lion shrine. The ancestors of Cochiti Pueblo no doubt carved this remarkable work and set up the stone ring around it. They set the standing stones in place.

Apparently, in years past, the University of New Mexico used a helicopter to remove the lion to the Maxwell Museum, but protests caused it to be returned. I wonder if that is when the tail went missing?

At any rate, the shrine appeared unused, even now, just two weeks after the equinox when we would have thought there would have been a ceremony. Ten years ago there were sea shells, obsidian, and quartz crystals, but today... nothing. But still the Stone Lion quietly guards its sipapu and looks out forever across the endless mesas.


Twisted Traveler said...

Happened to stumble upon Schlepp's dispatches and am awestruck at the single stone lion... I live here in Los Lunas and have had the Bandelier Stone Lions on my to-do list but this seems far more adventurous... How do I find out more? Great adventures Schlepp!

dpete said...

In 1995, after reading about the removal and return of this stone lion, my research lead me to the UNM library and to Bandelier's Journal where I found a drawing of the location of all three stone lions. However, I was unable to get to this one before I had to leave NM for CA. Now age may keep me from the adventure of seeing it. Thanks for the pictures, I really enjoyed them.

Jim Epler said...

I'm wondering if I could contact you directly to find out more about this shrine? Thanks!

Schlepp said...

I've not been tending to comments on this blog very well. I see that the Stone Lion Shrine post attracted some attention. Please contact the author directly at It's an amazing shrine, but it's situated on land of uncertain jurisdiction--private or Cochiti Pueblo? It's shown on the maps as Canada de Cochiti Grant and the lion is only a mile south of the Bandelier line.

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