Understanding Aboriginal art, iconography and symbols
Many people ask what Aboriginal art means. Here is a quote by Anangu of the central desert APY Lands South Australia which succinctly summarises the deep meaning behind the art work-story.
"Tjukurpa refers to the creation period when ancestral beings created the world. From this came our religious heritage, explaining our existence and guiding our daily life. It is the law for caring for one another and for the land that supports us.
Tjukurpa tells of the relationships between people, plants, animals and the physical features of the land. It refers to the time when ancestral beings created the world as we know it.
Knowledge of how these relationships came to be, what they mean and how they must be carried on is explained in Tjukurpa.
Tjukurpa refers to the past, the present and the future at the same time. None of the places we know existed until our ancestors, in the form of people, plants and animals, traveled widely across the land.
As they traveled they formed the world as we know it, creating trees, rocks, caves, boulders, cracks and waterholes.
The details of the activities and travels of the ancestral beings have been taught to us in stories, songs, dances and ceremonies.
Our deep knowledge of the land…….is based on our knowledge of Tjukurpa. This knowledge is carefully passed on…..”
01 innedi tree (small red seeds)
02 witchety grub
03 2 men (each symbol represents 1 man)
04 foot prints
05 rainbow-cloud or sand hill
06 women cooking
07 women sitting with coolamon & digging stick
09 bush tomato-wild plum
10 honey ants
12 stone axe
13 emu tracks
14 emu mother earth
15 dreaming trails
17 wild apples
18 feeding kangaroo tracks
20 coolamon with carrying handle
21 camp site-stone well-rock hole-breast-fire-hole or fruit
22 water-rainbow-snake-lightning-cliff-honey store
24 men sitting with boomerangs & spear
26 spear thrower
27 dingo tracks
28 woman & man or 2 persons back to back
29 killer boomerang
31 spirit ancestor
34 lizard tracks
35 2 men sitting by a water hole
36 water hole
37 returning boomerang
38 4 bladed boomerang used to keep ducks & birds down over water to run them into nets set across water
40 dreaming track with emus. earth mother energy rising
41 bush onion
43 possum tracks
44 underground water running
44 water hole & dry creek bed connecting to next water hole
45 ducks flying around water hole
46 music ( clap ) sticks
47 goaanna tracks. (goannas are snake bite immune)
49 bush banana
50 sand goanna
51 traveling sign with circles as resting place
53 moving kangaroo tracks
54 4 women sitting with digging sticks
56 sun father destiny