“8 – 260” (Palpa)
Canvas on stretcher , 60х60 cm (23.6” x 23.6”)
About 20 km to the north from plateau Nasca, well known for its geoglyphs – giant drawings on its surface – lay similar terrain called Palpa. This area is dry rocky upland, too – however, unlike Nasca, it was obviously subject to much more serious water erosion. But geoglyphs are still there.
The most prominent of them is drawing called “Estrella” (“estreya”, as they say in local dialect), which means “star” in Spanish. This geoglyph is quite big, its size about 150x150 ft, and indeed looks more like technical drawing than an artwork. It is built up by intercrossing right lines and circles forming geometrically strict shapes of unknown meaning. The whole arrangement is designed on square matrix 8x8 containing 64 square cells. Several circles are centered on it, as well as some further alignments, their traces still visible.
Meaning and purpose of this drawing, together with its extremely high accuracy – totally impossible to achieve by ropes and stakes of its alleged indigenous authors in III-VIII A.D. – still belong to area of mystery, or anyone’s guess. It is also worthwhile to notice that intense water erosion which had destroyed some parts of the geoglyph, must had taken place long before this area had reached its present arid state – which means that the age of the drawing must be much more venerable than it is generally recognized.
This way or another, 8x8 matrix offers some food for thought. It is not at all excluded, that having placed numbers from 1 to 64 in its cells the way horizontal, vertical and diagonal sums are the same (260), e.g. in “magic square” mode, one might discover certain connections between the cells and approach some understanding of the meaning of this mysterious geoglyph.
Arithmism, however, is just a style in contemporary art, being nothing like “geogylph cryptography”. Normally, paintings are not used for figuring out what mysterious signs might mean. That is why presenting “Estrella” as magic square is just artistical device, a symbol of connection between the kingdom of numbers and principality of geometric shapes – the shapes which were carved on this rocky plateau by means of unknown technology and science.
The matrix of numbers seems to hover about the drawing, which still can be seen on the dryland surface, marked all around with erosion grooves and ravines. Magic square addresses modern minds seemingly encouraging to piece this ancient puzzle together.