Aboriginal weapons

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aboriginal weapon

Aboriginal Weapons

Aboriginal weapons can be divided into 6 main types being spears, spear throwers, clubs, shields, boomerangs and sorcery. Aboriginal weapons are collectable and some can be quite valuable. Collectable value depends on Age rarity condition and beauty. Many aboriginal weapons are for hunting as well as warfare. A boomerang or spear and spear thrower can be use to hunt game but objects like shields and clubs really have only one purpose.

 

I collect Aboriginal Weapons and if you want to sell aboriginal weapon please feel free to contact me and send me an image.

 

There is a  vast variation in size, form, decoration and function of Australian Aboriginal Weapons. This reflects the social and cultural diversity of Aboriginal people across Australia who had over 200 language groups. In some regions large boomerangs were the preferred weapon while in other areas clubs and parrying shields.

Aboriginal feud and warfare is not covered in this article.

Aboriginal Weapons : Spears

torres strait spear

Aboriginal weapons Tiwi spears

Tiwi
spears

 

Most aboriginal spears are made from saplings or vine that have been straightened over a fire while still green. A wooden barb or stone spear tip is attached using kangaroo sinew and spinifex resin. The opposite end is then tapered to fit onto a spear thrower.  When completed the spear is usually between 2.5 and 3 metres long.

The majority of aboriginal spears are not very collectable because they do not display well but there is some notable exceptions. On the Tiwi Islands the spear has become a ceremonial object and is intricately carved and painted. The Torres Strait is the only part of Australia to have used a bow and arrow and the anthropomorphic arrows are highly collectable

 

Aboriginal Weapon Spear thrower : Woomera: Spearthrower

incised designs on a spear thrower from west australia

Spear thrower with european designs

 

The aboriginal spear thrower is an ingenious device that allows a spear to be thrown far further and more accurately than it could by hand alone.  There were six main types of spear thrower in Aboriginal Australia and are covered in my article Aboriginal spear throwers. Many spear throwers were used for hunting but they were also used in times of tribal fighting. Some spear throwers were even used to deflect incoming spears as well as throw them

 

 

 Aboriginal weapons : Shields

Aboriginal shieldShield Wanda

 

Aboriginal shields are the most collectable of all the aboriginal weapons. This is because they are often covered in the most intricate designs and show the highest levels of workmanship. There are seven main types of Aboriginal shield and are covered in a separate article. There are two main category of shield. They were either designed to block projectile weapons like spears or boomerangs or they were designed to parry a blow from a club.

 

 

Aboriginal Weapons Boomerangs

 

Fighting boomerang

Many boomerangs were made predominantly for hunting game but some boomerangs were made specifically for Warfare. Most notable are the number 7 or killer boomerang from Central Australia which is designed to hook onto an opponents parrying shield and swing in behind it doing massive damage and the Lake Eyre fighting boomerangs that can be up to 2 mertres long and are used in close quarters combat.

There are 12 main catagories of Aboriginal boomerang and they are covered in more detail in my article

 

 

Aboriginal Weapons Clubs

 

Club S.E AustraliaLeangle aboriginal clubs from south east AustraliaThree main catagories of Aboriginal Clubs were used in warfare. Throwing Clubs were used as lethal projectiles and made specifically to be thrown. Sword clubs are flat in profile and bludgeoning clubs. There is a large variety of Aboriginal clubs that  is covered in a separate article from different regions. Aboriginal clubs vary from not very collectable sticks with a crudely cut hand grip to intricately carved weapons with wonderful forms.

 

Aboriginal Weapons Sorcery

 

aboriginal pointing bone

aboriginal stealth weapon kadiacha shoes

In western society we do not think of sorcery as a weapon but in Aboriginal Australia it was just as deadly.  There were many different cultural practises most of which are secret or sacred and will not discussed here but two well known art forms can be discussed. The pointing bone was used by a traditional man of knowledge and if pointed at someone would cause them to grow sick and then die. Another stealth weapon associated with sorcery is the Kadaicha Shoes which allowed the wearer to leave no footprints and not be heard. A feather foot or Kadaicha man could enter a sleeping campsite kill you and leave without a trace.

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Aboriginal Boomerang

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aboriginal with boomerang

Aboriginal boomerang

 

The aboriginal boomerang has been around for at least 40,000 years and is an iconic symbol associated with Australia. What most people do not realise is that the aboriginal boomerang comes in a variety of forms most of which do not return.

The aim of this article is to look at the variety of Aboriginal boomerangs from around Australia not just as a weapon but as a collectable aboriginal art form.

 

 

 

I buy old traditional Aboriginal Boomerangs and if you want to sell Aboriginal Boomerang please send me an image.

There is a  vast variation in size, form, decoration and function of Australian Aboriginal boomerangs. This reflects the social and cultural diversity of Aboriginal people across Australia who had over 200 language groups.

lake eyre hook boomerang

rarest
boomerang

As mentioned most boomerangs were not made to return. They were made to be thrown, hit a target and kill it. Some were designed for hunting but others were designed for tribal fighting. Some boomerangs were not even thrown but were used like clubs and are up to 2 metres long. The majority of aboriginal returning boomerangs were used to hunt birds or as toys.

The Aboriginal boomerangs aerodynamic properties make it capable of being thrown 200 metres compared to a throwing stick which will only travel for 60 metres or so. Although it is associated with Australia boomerangs were used in other prehistoric societies. Rock paintings of boomerangs in North Africa date to 9,000 years ago and a 23,000 year old boomerang made of mammoth tusk was excavated in Poland. In fact ancient boomerangs have been found in Germany, Vanuatu, Indonesia, India and the Hopi Indians in Arizona.  What makes the Australian Aboriginal boomerang unique is that it has continued to be used up until recent times and has such a diversity of forms. In other cultures the boomerang was abandoned after the invention of the bow and arrow.

Aboriginal Boomerangs were often engraved after they were made and painted with ochre for ceremonial purposes. These designs were not decorative but were associated with dream time ancestors and totems. Collectors like boomerangs with designs far more than simple chip carved examples.

Although the Aboriginal boomerang is predominantly a hunting weapon it is also used as a digging tool, for making fire and as a club.

Aboriginal boomerang collectors favour boomerangs that are old, unique, rare or have elaborate designs

Aboriginal boomerang types

 

Kimberley Boomerang

Aboriginal Boomerang from the Kimberley Western Australia

 

Kimberley Boomerangs often have longitudinal fluting that follows the contours of the boomerang. Those from the Coastal region often have one arm longer than the other where as inland they tend to be symmetrical. They often have red ochre and white pipe clay stripes.  The most collectable form has a tight zigzag or la grange style of fluting on the reverse.

 

 

Kimberley Fishing  Boomerang

Aboriginal fish killing Boomerang

 

 

 

Fishing Boomerangs are strongly asymmetric longitudinally but convex and symmetrical in cross section. They tend to be undecorated and not ochred. They were used in shallow tidal water to kill larger fish and other marine animals. They are made of heavy woods and some late examples were even made of steel. They were hurled with great force at fish near the surface and often retrieved after the tide had gone out.

 

Lake Eyre and Darling River boomerangs

Aboriginal fighting boomerang from Lake eyreAboriginal Boomerang from Southern Queensland

 

These boomerangs are popular with collectors because they are intricately incised.  There are two main types.

Long fighting boomerangs were used as a club, they are thick because they don’t need to be aerodynamic and  up to six feet long. These should really be classified as an Aboriginal club but due to their boomerang shape are classified as boomerangs.

Smaller throwing boomerangs were also used in combat and tend to be flat on the bottom and concave on the top. Collectors value them mainly for the designs but Pinched ends are also desirable

Central Australian Hunting Boomerang

Central australian hunting boomerang

 

 

 

These boomerangs are quite common and do not vary much from the example shown. They often have longitudinal grooves and are convex on the top and flattish on the bottom. They are normally covered in red ochre and it has been suggested that the longitudinal grooves improve its aerodynamics in a similar way as dimples on a golf ball.

 

 

Central Australian Fighting boomerang

Central desert Fighting boomerang

 

The central Australian Fighting boomerang is often referred to as a number 7 boomerang or a swan neck boomerang.  The most collectable variety has a small notch at the top of the neck.  The boomerang is designed so that when it is thrown at the enemy the protrusion will catch on the opponents shield and the long shaft whip around and inflict the damage. These boomerangs were so sort after that they also acted as a form of currency during trade between tribes.

 

 

 

West Australian Boomerangs

West Australian boomerang

West Australian Boomerangs tend to be undecorated with a thin blade and rounded ends. They are not highly sort after by collectors but there are exceptions. The main exception is boomerangs from this region with one straight arm and the other with a concave twist.

 

 

 

 

Northern Queensland Rainforest boomerangs

Cross boomerang from north queenslandNorth Queensland boomerangs are brightly painted with designs similar to the shields from this region.The area around Cairns also has one of the rarest form of boomerangs called a cross boomerang, which was used in games.

 

 

 

 

Central and Eastern Queensland Boomerangs

Central Queensland boomerang

 

 

Boomerangs from this area are generally a crescent shape and tend to be quite large averaging 90 cm long. They tend not to be decorated or have only a few shallow incisions. Other than those from Mornington Island they are not normally painted with ochre or pipe clay.

 

 

 

South Eastern Austalian Boomerangs

south australian returning boomerang

 

Two main types of Boomerang come from this region. Small often steeply curved returning boomerangs were used for hunting birds and left plain and not ochred.  Fighting boomerangs up to 90 cm that were thrown at enemies or game. These are symmetrical longitudinally but convex on top and flatter on the bottom.

The LilLil club should also be mentioned as although it is called a club some were made to be thrown and are therefore as much a boomerang as a club

 

 

Collectable Aboriginal Boomerangs

All boomerangs are collectable but some are much more collectable than others. The most collectable boomerangs are the rarest, old authentic examples. The designs on the boomerang are also important because a collector can have a dozen boomerangs from the same area if they are all differently designed.  When used in ceremony boomerangs were often used in pairs, so to have a pair of matched boomerangs is more desirable than just a single item. Boomerangs that are at the extremes of their type are also highly sort after. The longest fighting boomerang or a returning boomerang with an extremely tight angle. Anything that is bizarre or unusual so long as it is old and authentic is a collectors delight.

For more detailed information on Boomerangs I recommend the Philip Jones book called Boomerang behind an Australian icon

More images of Aboriginal boomerangs

ceremonial boomerangs Queensland South queensland boomerang collection of south queensland boomerangs Kimberley boomerangs boomerang with pinched ends boomerangs in the South Australian museum designs on a boomerang west australian boomerang rare cross boomerang from north queensland Boomerang rainforest

 

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ABORIGINAL SCULPTURE ARTISTS

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This page is a list of links to Aboriginal sculpture artists who are known to have made sculptures during the 1970’s. They are listed by region

 

Aboriginal sculpture artists from Eastern Arnhem Land

Yunupingu 

Birikidji Gumana

Narritjin Maymaru

Mawalan Marika

Aboriginal sculpture artists from Tiwi Island

Lame toby mungatopi

Aurangnamirri Wommatakimmi

Mani Luki Wommatakimmi

Declan Apuatimi

Enraeld Djulabiyanna

Stanislaus Puruntatameri

Cardo Kerinauia

 Paddy Puruntatameri

 Kitty Kantilla

Aboriginal sculpture artists from Central Arnhem land

Libundja

Binyinyuwuy 

David Malanggi

Aboriginal sculpture artists from Western Arnhem land

Crusoe Kuningbal

Mick Kubarkku

 

 

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Aboriginal Clubs

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Lil Lil Aboriginal club fro New South Wales

Aboriginal Clubs

 

Aboriginal clubs come in numerous different forms depending on the region they were made, the tribe that made them and their purpose.  The aim of this article is to look at the variety of Aboriginal clubs not just as a weapon but as a collectable aboriginal art form.

There are several distinctive styles of Aboriginal Club from different Aboriginal tribes. In general the value of an Aboriginal club will vary depending on its age, rarity and design. Many of the very simple common clubs are not worth a great deal but the more interesting varieties are collectable

I buy Aboriginal Clubs and if you want please feel free to send me some images. If you are just interd in knowing what your club might be worth then contact me I am always pleased to see tribal items.

 

 

Some large boomerangs were used as clubs (fighting boomerangs)  but I have written about these in my article on Aboriginal Boomerangs. How bent or flat a throwing club needs to be before it becomes a boomerang is a matter of opinion.  Although many clubs were used in Warfare they were also important in ceremony. Some aboriginal clubs were made purely as ceremonial objects.

The most common and widely distributed of clubs would be better described as a throwing stick. They are usually about an inch in Diameter and 2-3 feet long. They have a resin handle at one end and are often fluted along the length. Due to the large number of these simple clubs they tend not to be very collectable. They sometimes have a sharp stone in the resin handle so they can act as an adze. More detailed anthropological information

The following Aboriginal clubs are not an exhaustive list but more summary of the more exciting varieties of this unique artform.

Leangle Aboriginal Clubs

 

Leangle aboriginal clubs from south east Australia

 

Leangle clubs come from South east Australia and are easily recognised by the right angled head and bulb on the end of the handle. They were used in close quarters combat along with a parrying shield. The long right angle heads were designed to reach round the sides of the opponents shield  According to Aldo Massola in Aborigines of South Eastern Australia: ” These clubs were only used in fighting at close quarters.  Blows were aimed at the head only-to strike at any other part of the body was thought to be unfair tactics. “

 

 

Lil Lil Aboriginal Clubs

Lil Lil Aboriginal club fro New South Wales Darling River lil Lil Club

LilLil Clubs come from Darling River region of  New South Wales and look somewhat like a boomerang with a bulbous asymetric end. Many are plain or chip carved but the most collectable ones have incised totemic designs.  Most authentic examples were collected quite early as this region was one of the first areas to be colonised and undergo cultural change. They were made to be throw and flat in profile andare sometimes classified as a boomerang. Their distribution was restricted to New South wales and adjacent areas in South Queensland and Victoria.

 

Nail Headed clubs and pineapple headed aboriginal clubs

 

two aboriginal clubs aboriginal nail headed club

The majority of these clubs come from Queensland. Older traditional clubs did not have nails but were carved to look like the pandanus fruit but are often called pineapple clubs. As soon as nails became available aboriginal people quickly innovated and the nail headed club was made. The nails are usually those used by a farrier. Other clubs from this area are identical to the nail headed club but lack the nails. they were a projectile weapon and also used in hand to hand combat

 

 

Queensland Rain forest Aboriginal clubs

 

Painted sword club from queensland two sword like clubs fro Queensland

Often called sword clubs these are the largest clubs made in aboriginal Australia. They can be over 2 metres in length and are flat.  They were made in Far North Queensland and are usually found unpainted but occasional examples have painted motifs similar in design to the shields from this area.

 

South Eastern Australian Aboriginal Clubs

 

aboriginal club from NSW Club SE Ausraliawar Club S.E Australia indigenous australian war Club from New South wales

 

There is a whole variety of clubs from South East Australia and they are all collectable. The more unusual the design the better. Ones with incised clan motifs and really unusual shapes are the most collectable.

 

 

Tiwi Island Aboriginal Clubs

 

Tiwi island ceremonial club three tiwi island throwing clubs

Aboriginal Clubs from the Tiwi islands were either made to be thrown at an enemy or were ceremonial.  The smaller throwing clubs are often unpainted or simply painted with a bulbous head and thin handle. They were used in a manner similar to the Fijian Ula. Throwing clubs are collectable but it is the larger more beautifully painted ceremonial clubs that are highly sort after. Large flat profile clubs from the Tiwi islands are rarer and may have been used as sword clubs.

 

two pronged aboriginal clubs from the tiwi islands spears from the Tiwi islands

 

Some Ceremonial Tiwi clubs are 2 pronged and are painted and used in a similar fashion to the ceremonial spears that this region is famous for.

 

 

 

 

Arnhem Land clubs

club from arnhemlandarnhem land aboriginal club

 

Not all aboriginal clubs from Arnhem land have a distinctive fish tailed handle but the best ones often do. They are finely painted on the upper third in clan motifs. Loss of this design detracts considerably from their value. They are flatish in profile and are a sword club. the are usually just over a metre long.

 

 

 

 More Images of Aboriginal Clubs

 

South east Australian war clubs aboriginal war club aboriginal club from NSW Nail headed aboriginal clu Queensland war clubs sword club from new south walesExceptional tiwi Ceremonial club Tiwi clubs Club SA Ardossan soth12 10 Club S.E Australia Club NSW Lake Eyre or coopers creek war club south east Australian bulbous headed club Lake Eyre fighting club Club nsw Aboriginal clubs from Rockhampton Queenslan

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Wattie Karawara Wandjina paintings

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Wattie Karrawara wandjina Bark painting

Wattie Karawara
Bark painting

Wattie Karawara is a famous Wandjina painter form the Kimberley in Western Australia. He was one of the pioneer commercial wandjina painters. The aim of this article is to assist readers in identifying if their a bark painting / slate is by Wattie Karawara by comparing  examples of his work.

 

 

 

If you have a Wattie Karawara bark painting or slate to sell please contact me. If you just want to know what your Wattie Karawara painting is worth to me please feel free to send me a Jpeg because I would love to see it.

 

 

 

Bark painting of a wandjina by KARRUWARA WATTIE Wattie’s Wandjina figures are drawn with a full body. The figures are drawn in an inland wandjina style with very large head-dresses which look more fan shaped than hallo shaped. Wandjina takes many forms according to the exact location and tribal group that are its custodians and Watties images represent those from his area. The bodies are usually covered with red. His wandjina faces vary but often don’t have eye lashes and sometimes have eye brows. Watties Wandjinas have small eyes, nose, and delicate hands and feet.

Wattie Karawara was born in the Hunter River basin in the Kimberley around 1910. In 1921 during his youth, two shipwrecked sailors stole a canoe from a clansman and, in an attempt to cross the Hunter River, became swamped. On their return to shore, the owner of the canoe speared and killed them. As a consequence the police detained four women and two men, of whom Wattie was one. After a period in Wyndam jail and a trial in Perth, Wattie Karawara was eventually released as a minor. He spent nearly 20 years in Perth before returning to his home at Mowanjum.

In Mowanjum, Wattie lived with his uncle Mickey Bungkuni a senior Wunambal elder who painted wandjina and taught Wattie to paint. There are a few early examples of Watties works collected by anthropologists before 1970. The majority of his paintings were done in the early 70’s. Wattie Karawara and Charlie Numbulmoore were among the first artists to emerge as individual artistic identities prior to the 1970’s. Although most of watties works are on bark he also painted coolamon and on slate.

Wattie late in his career did a series of watercolours and painted non wandjina themes on traditional dishes (coolamon) and carved boab nuts.

 Wattie Karawara Wandjina Images

The following is not a complete list of works but gives a very good idea of this artists style and variety.


KARRAWARA WATTIE
 Wandjina painting by KARRUWARA WATTIEBark painting depicting a wandina spirit by WATTIE faded bark painting by wattieKARRUWARA WATTIE KARRUWARA WATTIE Wattie Karawara paintingKARRUWARA WATTIE KARRUWARA WATTIE painted coolamonCoolamon dish painted by KARRUWARA WATTIE KARRUWARA WATTIE KARRUWARA WATTIE wattie karawara wanjina painting on slate

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Aboriginal spearthrower

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Aboriginal spear throwers

Aboriginal Spearthrower

 

An Aboriginal spearthrower is also commonly known as Woomera or Miru and is a weapon that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity and distance in spear throwing.

The aim of this article is to look at the variety of Aboriginal Spearthrowers not as just as weapons but as a collectable aboriginal art form.

There are several different distinctive styles of spearthrower from different aboriginal tribes. In general the value of a spearthrower will depend on it’s rarity age and the beauty of the design.

 

I BUY ABORIGINAL SPEARTHROWERS

I am a keen collector of Aboriginal spearthrowers so if you want to sell aboriginal spear thower please feel free to contact me by email and send me some images.

 

aboriginal man with spear thrower

The aboriginal spear-thrower is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the peg. The spear is thrown by the action of the upper arm and wrist. Spear thrower in action 

The throwing arm together with the aboriginal spear thrower acts as a lever. The spear-thrower is a low-mass, fast-moving extension of the throwing arm, increasing the length of the lever. This extra length allows the thrower to impart force to the spear over a longer distance, thus imparting more energy and ultimately higher speeds.

The thrower grips the end covered with Spinifex resin and places the end of the spear into the small peg on the opposite end of the spear thrower. A spear-thrower is a long-range hunting weapon and can make a spear reach speeds of as much as 150 km/h.

Spearthrowers appear very early in human history in several parts of the world.  The antiquity of the spear thrower in Australia is at least 40,000 BP.  The ancient skeleton of Mungo Man had severe osteoarthritis of the right elbow indicating he had used a spear thrower for many years.

Aboriginal spearthrowers were used in warfare as well as for hunting.  Aboriginal shields and sometimes the spear throwers were used to block incoming spears. The Aboriginal spear thrower sometimes had a very sharp piece of quartz rock inserted into the Spinifex resin handle.  This made it a multipurpose tool able to be used for cutting, shaping or sharpening.  The spear thrower was also used as a fire making saw, as a receptacle of mixing ochre, in ceremonies.

The designs on a aboriginal spearthrower indicate they were also sometimes very personal and empowered objects

Types of Aboriginal Spearthrowers

 

Aboriginal Spearthrower from South Eastern Australia

 

Aboriginal spear-thrower from Victoria Aboriginal Spearthrower from Victoria

Aboriginal spearthrowers from South Eastern Australia are rare because this was the first part of Australia to be colonised and Aboriginal Culture changed rapidly after contact. In general spear throwers from this area look like a short wooden harpoon and are quite narrow.  They are often carved sometimes with an almost floral motif but can be plain. A few examples were also carved over with designs to sell to early european settlers. They can have resin handles but do not have pins rather  just a wooden hook. They were used for hunting but also in warfare along with broad shields.

 

Aboriginal Spear throwers from South Western Australia

 

Spear thrower from south western australia

 

 

Aboriginal spear throwers from the South of Western Australia are leaf shaped and uncarved. They have a bone peg at the top attached by animal sinew and often have an asymetric spinifex resin handle.  Despite being plain their is a certain beauty in their simplicity.

 

 

 

Aboriginal Spear throwers from North Queensland

 

australian-aboriginal-spear-thrower Queensland Woomera

Aboriginal spear throwers from North Queensland have Bivalve shells on the handle instead of spinifex. The pins are made from wood not bone and are attached with animal sinew. the most collectable examples have little red seeds decorating the space between the bivalve shells.

They are all flat but wary a lot in width depending on the exact location they were made. The very thin ones and very wide ones are the most collectable.

Aboriginal spear throwers from Arnhem land

spear thrower Arnhem land soth 12 2

IMG_3336

 

 

Arnhem land spear throwers are long and thin. They are often nearly a metre long and have bone pins but lack the spinifex handles. Instead of the spinifex handle they have distinctive  notches on the handle allowing for better grip. When they are used for ceremonial occassions they are painted in ochres in clan motifs. Painted examples are more collectable

 

 

Aboriginal spear throwers from the Kimberley

Aboriginal Spear thrower from the Kimberley Spear thrower from the Kimberley

 

 

 

Spear throwers from the Kimberley are similar to those from Arnhem land but in general have a more graceful teardrop shape.  They are not incised but are quite often decorated with ochre.

 

 

Aboriginal Spear throwers from Inland Western Australia and  Central Australia

Spearthrowers wa Spear thrower WA

Spear throwers from Central Australia and inland Western Australia are the most common type of spear thrower. They are however collectable because they are often lovingly incised with a variety of designs. Some designs are quite common and other designs very rare depending on which clan / tribe that made them. In general the broader the better and the more detailed the design the more collectable.

More Images of Aboriginal spear throwers

Spear thrower from the Kimberley in Western Australia woomera three spear throwers from the kimberley west australian spear thrower west australian spear throwers three spear throwers 4 wa spearthrowers five west australian spear throwers lovely broad wa spear thrower woomera from wa incised designs on a spear thrower from west australiaSpear thrower with european designs

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Aboriginal Art lesson plan

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The following free Aboriginal Art lesson plan and Aboriginal Bark Painting worksheets are designed for students in years 4 to 6. Please feel free to use the attached Aboriginal Art lesson plan and adjust the lessons to suit your class environment.

 

Six Aboriginal Art lesson plan Worksheets

Click on the image for a easy to print version

 

Aboriginal art teachers resource BARK PAINTING TURTLE WORKSHEETABORIGINAL art for kids BARK PAINTING BARRAMUNDI WORKSHEETAboriginal art teachers resource BARK PAINTING CROCODILE WORKSHEET

Aboriginal Art lesson plan BROLGA WORKSHEETAboriginal Art lesson plan KANGAROO WORKSHEETAboriginal Art lesson plan Lizard WORKSHEET

 

Aboriginal Art lesson plan X-RAY Aboriginal Bark Painting 

STUDENT OUTCOMES

The student:

  • recognises the importance of contributions made by Aboriginal artists;
  • considers popular traditional and contemporary arts, including those from other times and places;
  • understands how Aboriginal arts contribute to the arts in Australian society;
  • gains an understanding that there are a variety of Aboriginal Art Styles from different regions and language groups.
  • gains knowledge of the X Ray style of painting from the Oenpelli Region of Arnhem Land

TEACHING RESOURCES/ MATERIALS:

Collection of Bark Painting Pictures

Bark Painting Design Worksheets

Red, Black, yellow and brown sharpened coloured pencils

IMPLEMENTATION:

Whole Class.

  • Show students pictures of the Aboriginal Bark Paintings and Rock paintings from the Oenpelli region.
  • Explain to students that some of Australia’s Rock art is older than the pyramids or Stone Henge.  Some Rock Paintings are believed to depict mega Fauna that has been extinct for 30,000 years
  • Explain how aboriginal artists traditionally drew animals as though they could be seen through (just like an X-Ray) and explain this is an artist method of showing an animal is depicted is three dimensionally.
  • Show examples of Xray bark paintings from picture collection
  • .Ask students what main colours are used in traditional x ray paintings and why these colours are used.
  • Show examples of different styles of rarrk line work
  • Discuss the types of markings (Rarrk) – model how they can be drawn.
  • Introduce the Bark Painting Worksheet and Model how to complete/ decorate the animal depicted.
  • Using the printed Worksheets ask the students to  further segment the animal design. Then use only parallel lines or cross hatching (Rarrk) to fill in the animal design sections. Small blocks of colour and dots are also acceptable. Traditionally no more than four colours of earthy tones should be used.
  • Children can choose from the six different animals worksheets supplied.
  • Remind children to use traditional colours and drawing techniques to complete their own x-ray design. The bones in the spine should be left white.
  • At end of the lesson – share designs and compare to Traditional Artist.

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

X-Ray style Aboriginal bark painting was traditionally painted on cave walls.

It is at least 7000 years old but probably much older.

The animals depicted are often totem animals sacred to the painter or animals important in an ancestral story.

Traditionally Red and Yellow were made from Ochre, White from Clay and Black from charcoal.

Bark Design Info:

Backbones are traditionally left white with small sections coloured in.

Rarrk (Lines) are fine, delicate and are parallel

Use different cross hatching/ line designs for each section.

 

Free Teachers Resource Aboriginal Art Bark Painting Activity for Kids

Free Art Lesson Plan

Teachers Resource

Aboriginal Art Activity

Aboriginal Art Worksheet

Bark Painting Worksheets

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aboriginal art teachers resource

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The following free Aboriginal art teachers resource and Aboriginal Bark Painting worksheets are designed for students in years 4 to 6. Please feel free to use the attached Aboriginal art teachers resource and adjust the lessons to suit your class environment.

 

Six Aboriginal Bark Painting Worksheets

Click on the image for a easy to print version

Aboriginal art teachers resource BARK PAINTING TURTLE WORKSHEETABORIGINAL art for kids BARK PAINTING BARRAMUNDI WORKSHEETAboriginal art teachers resource BARK PAINTING CROCODILE WORKSHEET

ABORIGINAL art for kids BARK PAINTING BROLGA WORKSHEETAboriginal art teachers resource BARK PAINTING KANGAROO WORKSHEETABORIGINAL art for kids BARK PAINTING LIZARD WORKSHEET

Aboriginal art teachers resource X-RAY Aboriginal Bark Painting 

STUDENT OUTCOMES

The student:

  • recognises the importance of contributions made by Aboriginal artists;
  • considers popular traditional and contemporary arts, including those from other times and places;
  • understands how Aboriginal arts contribute to the arts in Australian society;
  • gains an understanding that there are a variety of Aboriginal Art Styles from different regions and language groups.
  • gains knowledge of the X Ray style of painting from the Oenpelli Region of Arnhem Land

TEACHING RESOURCES/ MATERIALS:

Collection of Bark Painting Pictures

Bark Painting Design Worksheets

Red, Black, yellow and brown sharpened coloured pencils

IMPLEMENTATION:

Whole Class.

  • Show students pictures of the Aboriginal Bark Paintings and Rock paintings from the Oenpelli region.
  • Explain to students that some of Australia’s Rock art is older than the pyramids or Stone Henge.  Some Rock Paintings are believed to depict mega Fauna that has been extinct for 30,000 years
  • Explain how aboriginal artists traditionally drew animals as though they could be seen through (just like an X-Ray) and explain this is an artist method of showing an animal is depicted is three dimensionally.
  • Show examples of Xray bark paintings from picture collection
  • .Ask students what main colours are used in traditional x ray paintings and why these colours are used.
  • Show examples of different styles of rarrk line work
  • Discuss the types of markings (Rarrk) – model how they can be drawn.
  • Introduce the Bark Painting Worksheet and Model how to complete/ decorate the animal depicted.
  • Using the printed Worksheets ask the students to  further segment the animal design. Then use only parallel lines or cross hatching (Rarrk) to fill in the animal design sections. Small blocks of colour and dots are also acceptable. Traditionally no more than four colours of earthy tones should be used.
  • Children can choose from the six different animals worksheets supplied.
  • Remind children to use traditional colours and drawing techniques to complete their own x-ray design. The bones in the spine should be left white.
  • At end of the lesson – share designs and compare to Traditional Artist.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

X-Ray style Aboriginal bark painting was traditionally painted on cave walls.

It is at least 7000 years old but probably much older.

The animals depicted are often totem animals sacred to the painter or animals important in an ancestral story.

Traditionally Red and Yellow were made from Ochre, White from Clay and Black from charcoal.

Bark Design Info:

Backbones are traditionally left white with small sections coloured in.

Rarrk (Lines) are fine, delicate and are parallel

Use different cross hatching/ line designs for each section.

 

 

 

Free Teachers Resource Aboriginal Art Bark Painting Activity for Kids

Free Art Lesson Plan

Teachers Resource

Aboriginal Art Activity

Aboriginal Art Worksheet

Bark Painting Worksheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aboriginal art from Oenpelli

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Aboriginal art from Oenpelli

 

Aboriginal art from Oenpelli stems directly from a long history of rock painting. This article describes the features and designs found in Aboriginal art from Oenpelli and provides links to 32 major Oenpelli Bark Painting Artists.

Commonly the background of Aboriginal art from Oenpelli has been covered by a reddish Ochre that has been rubbed in. Sometimes the scrapped surface may be left the colour it assumed when it was scorched and straightened over a fire. Bark painting from this region were originally done inside shelters made of bark during the wet season or as rock painting.

 

I buy Aboriginal art from Oenpelli and if you want to sell Aboriginal art from Oenpelli I would love to see it. If you have a bark painting and just want to know what it is worth please feel free to send me a jpeg.

Much of the Aboriginal Art from Oenpelli was sold through the C.M.S or christian mission society. Local artists would bring in artworks and leave them for the mission to sell and return sometimes months later to pick up their money. Early CMS pieces have chalk or black marker inventory numbers and later they made labels and wrote down details.

Oenpelli Bark PaintingThe design typically consists of a single figure or a group of figures. The design is boldly outlined in white and stands out clearly from the background. The figures on a bark Painting can be some of the most dynamic and visually intriguing found in Aboriginal Art.

Though there is very little of background detail, the design is often filled in with crosshatching. These figures are distinguished by their roundness and quality of movement. Some bark painting form Oenpelli exhibit a unique x ray technique whereby internal organs – usually of animals fish or pregnant women are depicted. This x-ray style of art is a way Aboriginal Art represent the whole spiritual being on a 2 dimensional surface and not just the beings surface. In some old rock painting it is believed the spirit itself came to rest on the rock and left the depiction of its image. It is also the reason that Oenpelli bark painting are sometimes called X-Ray Bark Painting or x-ray aboriginal art.

Representations of attenuated matchstick figures called Mimi spirits are also found primarily in aboriginal art from Oenpelli.

Aboriginal art from Oenpelli Artists include:

 

Aboriginal art from Oenpelli depicting 3 spiritsJimmy Midjaw Midjaw | Mick Kubarkku

Lofty Nadjamerrek | Paddy Compass Namatbara

Dick Murramurra | Nym Djimurrgurr

January Nanganyari | Balirr Balirr

Rurrkula  | Nicholas

Wagbara | Madagarlgarl |  Yirawala

Curly Bardkadubbu  | Mandidja

Djambalula  | Guymala

Paddy Captain Jambuwal

Crusoe Kuningbal | Wally Mandarrk | Yuwunyuwun Murrawarr

Bobby Ngainjmirra  |  Peter Marralwanga

Naiyombolmi  Spider Namirrki | Anchor Wurrkidj

Joshua Wrrongu | George Djaykurrnga

Peter Nabarlambarl | Jimmy Ngainjmirra

Aboriginal art from OenpelliThe Oenpelli region includes Crocker Island which is home to some of the greatest figurative aboriginal art. The figures on Crocker Island bark Painting are extremely fluid and full of power and mystery.

The Oenpelli region reaches from the East Alligator River to the liverpool Rivers and includes the Coboug Peninsula and Crocker Island and Gouldburn Islands.

Forest plaines which flood in the wet season border the rivers and lagoons which teem with fish. The main settlement is Oenpelli Mission which is about 100 kilometres from the coast near the alligator River. Although as a cattle station it dates back to 1906 it first became the site of a church mission society in 1925. Nowadays aboriginal life centres on the mission station, where cattle are raised and crops are grown.

The Aboriginals of Oenpelli are organised into tribes rather than the smaller clans. Clans commonly trace matrilineal descent. Among them are the Gunwinggu and the Maung. In the Western region occurs the rocky escarpment of the Arnhem land plateau, fissured by chasms and dotted with caves. Evidence of human occupation as long as 20 thousand years ago is reflected in the rock painting. It is one of the oldest living tribal art traditions on earth.

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Aboriginal Spear thrower

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Aboriginal spear throwers

Aboriginal Spear thrower

An Aboriginal spear thrower is also commonly known as Woomera or Miru and is a weapon that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity and distance in spear throwing.

The aim of this article is to look at the variety of Aboriginal Spear Throwers not as just as weapons but as a collectable aboriginal art form.

There are several different distinctive styles of spear thrower from different aboriginal tribes. In general the value of a spear thrower will depend on it’s rarity age and the beauty of the design.

 

I BUY ABORIGINAL SPEAR THROWERS

I am a keen collector of Aboriginal spear throwers so if you want to sell aboriginal spear thower please feel free to contact me by email and send me some images.

 

aboriginal man with spear thrower

The aboriginal spear-thrower is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the peg. The spear is thrown by the action of the upper arm and wrist. Spear thrower in action 

The throwing arm together with the aboriginal spear thrower acts as a lever. The spear-thrower is a low-mass, fast-moving extension of the throwing arm, increasing the length of the lever. This extra length allows the thrower to impart force to the spear over a longer distance, thus imparting more energy and ultimately higher speeds.

The thrower grips the end covered with Spinifex resin and places the end of the spear into the small peg on the opposite end of the spear thrower. A spear-thrower is a long-range hunting weapon and can make a spear reach speeds of as much as 150 km/h.

Spear throwers appear very early in human history in several parts of the world.  The antiquity of the spear thrower in Australia is at least 40,000 BP.  The ancient skeleton of Mungo Man had severe osteoarthritis of the right elbow indicating he had used a spear thrower for many years.

Aboriginal spear throwers were used in warfare as well as for hunting.  Aboriginal shields and sometimes the spear throwers were used to block incoming spears. The Aboriginal spear thrower sometimes had a very sharp piece of quartz rock inserted into the Spinifex resin handle.  This made it a multipurpose tool able to be used for cutting, shaping or sharpening.  The spear thrower was also used as a fire making saw, as a receptacle of mixing ochre, in ceremonies.

The designs on aboriginal spear throwers indicate they were also sometimes very personal and empowered objects

Types of Aboriginal Spear Throwers

 

Aboriginal Spear throwers from South Eastern Australia

 

Aboriginal spear-thrower from Victoria Spear thrower from Victoria

Aboriginal spear throwers from South Eastern Australia are rare because this was the first part of Australia to be colonised and Aboriginal Culture changed rapidly after contact. In general spear throwers from this area look like a short wooden harpoon and are quite narrow.  They are often carved sometimes with an almost floral motif but can be plain. A few examples were also carved over with designs to sell to early european settlers. They can have resin handles but do not have pins rather  just a wooden hook. They were used for hunting but also in warfare along with broad shields.

 

Aboriginal Spear throwers from South Western Australia

 

Spear thrower from south western australia

 

 

Aboriginal spear throwers from the South of Western Australia are leaf shaped and uncarved. They have a bone peg at the top attached by animal sinew and often have an asymetric spinifex resin handle.  Despite being plain their is a certain beauty in their simplicity.

 

 

 

Aboriginal Spear throwers from North Queensland

 

australian-aboriginal-spear-thrower Queensland Woomera

Aboriginal spear throwers from North Queensland have Bivalve shells on the handle instead of spinifex. The pins are made from wood not bone and are attached with animal sinew. the most collectable examples have little red seeds decorating the space between the bivalve shells.

They are all flat but wary a lot in width depending on the exact location they were made. The very thin ones and very wide ones are the most collectable.

Aboriginal spear throwers from Arnhem land

 

spear thrower Arnhem land soth 12 2

IMG_3336

 

Arnhem land spear throwers are long and thin. They are often nearly a metre long and have bone pins but lack the spinifex handles. Instead of the spinifex handle they have distinctive  notches on the handle allowing for better grip. When they are used for ceremonial occassions they are painted in ochres in clan motifs. Painted examples are more collectable

 

 

 

Aboriginal spear throwers from the Kimberley

 

Aboriginal Spear thrower from the Kimberley Spear thrower from the Kimberley

 

 

Spear throwers from the Kimberley are similar to those from Arnhem land but in general have a more graceful teardrop shape.  They are not incised but are quite often decorated with ochre.

 

 

 

 

Aboriginal Spear throwers from Inland Western Australia and  Central Australia

 

Spearthrowers wa Spear thrower WA

Spear throwers from Central Australia and inland Western Australia are the most common type of spear thrower. They are however collectable because they are often lovingly incised with a variety of designs. Some designs are quite common and other designs very rare depending on which clan / tribe that made them. In general the broader the better and the more detailed the design the more collectable.

 

More Images of Aboriginal spear throwers

Spear thrower from the Kimberley in Western Australia woomera three spear throwers from the kimberley west australian spear thrower west australian spear throwers three spear throwers 4 wa spearthrowers five west australian spear throwers lovely broad wa spear thrower woomera from wa incised designs on a spear thrower from west australiaSpear thrower with european designs

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