Dry Fork Canyon (Vernal, Utah)
McConkie Ranch Petroglyphs
Lower Gallery: The Three Kings

  "Lower gallery" is almost a misnomer here, because the Three Kings panel is high up on the canyon wall. Nevertheless, it is the grand finale to the walk along the lower gallery, to an observation point a fair way from the petroglyph.

The Three Kings is very highly regarded as a masterpiece of Fremont artwork: the figures, each some 6 feet or more, have great detail. Moreover, rather than three kings, there are at least six visible figures. (Perhaps it was first named by someone rather nearsighted?)

The only problem is that the petroglyph is somewhat faded and is usually shown as a line drawing. My preference is for a photo of the actual scene, presented below. Some of the details are missing (the fellow on the extreme left is barely visible), but it does capture the flavor.

Three Kings

  Of all the days not to have a long telephoto lens for my camera! Instead, the above is a composite of various detailed stills from my video camera.

A theory.   There are other panels, from the upper gallery, which seem to me to capture the spirit of the Fremont better. My principal reason is that the Three Kings has been greatly reworked by subsequent artists.

For instance, consider the prominent center figure. He seems perfectly in proportion.

And that's wrong. The Fremont figures exhibit extreme foreshortening; that is, the trunk of the body is very long, the legs short. Consider the family groups shown earlier.

As evidence, notice the "kneecaps." Kneecaps, however natural, are completely incongruous with the highly stylized Freemont artwork. Why add them?

Well, if a leg were to be extended, one would have to incorporate any foot shape. And the outward bend of the foot subsequently appears like a kneecap.

Whatever its derivation, the Three Kings is a remarkable sight!

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Upper Gallery
Lower Gallery:   family,   wildlife,   whimsy,   three kings

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