Queen Califia’s Magical Circle


This is my latest 360° panoramic image from Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, a mosaic sculpture garden by Niki de Saint Phalle located in Escondido, CA. The garden consists of nine large-scale installations including a circular “snake” wall with a labyrinthine entrance into the confines of the circle.

Eight large totems of mythical monsters and deities surround the main piece of Queen Califia standing upon the Eagle Throne. There used to be a gold-egg shaped fountain underneath the eagle that referred to Queen Califia’s magical reign over oceans and also symbolized the cycle of birth, death, and transformation.  It is faced with handmade gold leaf sandwich glass that was controlled by a solar pump.

Upon my latest visit the Egg Fountain had been removed, due probably to abuse since this beloved park is overrun with children and adults climbing and scaling these fragile mosaic pieces. On the one hand, you can’t blame folks for stomping all over the installations as they appear to invite interaction with their colorful textures and shapes. However, I’m afraid that should this rough interaction continue with the pieces not maintained they too will suffer removal like the Egg Fountain.

The Niki Endowment Fund was established to enable the city of Escondido’s school children an opportunity to visit the garden. It pays for transportation costs of docent lead classes to visit the site. For more information about the fund and how to contribute call 760-839-4331.

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