Central Australian ceremonial objects return to main index
Central Australian ceremonial objects [see also trade results]
ChuringaUS$not known MS 4629 [Sch°yen Collection]
churinga thumbnail

Described as:

Churinga of Papatjokurpa of Luritja tibe, representing the place 'Too Loo La Maounm Oonja' (central concentric circles with the totem Weei children, sitting (U-shapes), surrounded by boomerangs thrown by the Weei who also catches them so they never fall to the ground (4 short parallel lines), above and below chest marks, scarificatrion tatoos (8 long parallel lines), everything surrounded by flies (dots).

Name Song:

YALKERI MURA MURA
MUNKARA TALU KURA PARAKANNEE
YALKERI MURA MURA
MUNKARA TALU KURA PARANNEE

MS in Aranda on green chist stone, Too Loo La Maounm Oonja, Central Australia, before 1800, 1 oval churinga, 52x18 cm, aboriginal symbols incised with an incisor tooth of an opossum, rubbed with grease and ochre during the ceremonies, the ochre still sticking in the grooves.

Context: Papatjokurpa had 5 churingas, 1 larger than the present, and 3 small ones, all with nearly identical symbols. The other 4 are now in a private collection in Sydney.

Provenance: 1. Kristian Pareroultja of Luritja tribe (-1949); 2. Rex E. Battarbee, Ntarea (1949-); 3. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.

Commentary: Rex Battarbee (1893-1973), watercolorist and teacher of the Arunta School of Aboriginal painting, is a major figure in the history of Central Australia, being deeply involved in Australian Aboriginal artistic culture and tradition. His autograph notes follow this churinga, recording the details of the song this churinga is associated with, and a drawing of it with the interpretation of its symbols.

There is no certain way to date the old churingas that are from the pre-contact period (before 1780). They can be as old as the Aboriginal culture, 40-50,000 years. With the earliest rockpaintings and carvings, the cylcons and churingas represent the oldest form of communication and art, still present, and they represent the oldest religion still observed. The aborigine owner's belief is that his kuruna or spirit is intimately associated with his churinga. Even today the whole of Australia is dotted over with Knanikillas, or local totem centres. Each of these has a sacred storehouse for the tribe's and individuals' churingas, guarded by the inkata. Women, and men that had not passed through the ceremonies of circumcision and subincision, were not allowed to approach the storehouse, Pertalchera.

The aborigine people of the Central desert read the patterns on the churinga as representations of nature, a kind of map or site. The icons are not literally figurative. Rather they can be interpreted as a whole range of natural phenomena that are stereotyped in their typical form, so they become an artistic system. Each churinga had its own personal 'name', which had to be sung whenever it was being inspected or handled. The name was one of the verses from the sacred song cycle related to the actual totem centre.

churinga thumbnail

ChuringaUS$not known MS 4467 [Sch°yen Collection]
churinga thumbnail

Described as:

Churinga: Wavy parallel lines linking concentric circles representing waterholes, totem centres or camp sites in the Aborigine's mythological landscape.

MS in Aborigine tribal language on grey stone, Northern Territories, Australia, very early, before 1800, 1 boatshaped churinga, 37x12x1 cm, patterns incised with a incisor tooth of an opossum, and rubbed with grease and red ochre during the ceremonies, the ochre still sticks in the groves.

Provenance: 1. Presented to Ursula Padman, Leprosy control officer and honorary Tribal Elder 1930's-1940's; 2. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.

Commentary: There is no certain way to date the old churingas that are from the pre-contact period (before 1780). They can be as old as the Aboriginal culture, 40-50,000 years. With the earliest rockpaintings and carvings, the cylcons and churingas represent the oldest form of communication and art, still present, and they represent the oldest religion still observed. The aborigine owner's belief is that his kuruna or spirit is intimately associated with his churinga. Even today the whole of Australia is dotted over with Knanikillas, or local totem centres. Each of these has a sacred storehouse for the tribe's and individuals' churingas, guarded by the inkata. Women and men that had not passed through the ceremonies of circumcision and subincision, were not allowed to approach the storehouse, Pertalchera. The aborigine people of the Central desert read the patterns on the churinga as representations of nature, a kind of map or site. The icons are not literally figurative. Rather they can be interpreted as a whole range of natural phenomena that are stereotyped in their typical form, so they become an artistic system. Each churinga had its own personal 'name', which had to be sung whenever it was being inspected or handled. The name was one of the verses from the sacred song cycle related to the actual totem centre.

churinga thumbnail

ChuringaUS$not known MS 2968 [Sch°yen Collection]
churinga thumbnail

Described as:

Churinga: Kangaroo tracks in the sand moving around concentric circles; an iconographic emblem of the kangaroo totem, and the movement of his ancestral being around a waterhole, totem centre or a special place in the tribe Aranda's mythological landscape.

MS in Aranda on schist-like stone, Central Desert area, Australia, before 1800, 1 circular churinga, diam.30x3 cm, aboriginal patterns incised with a incisor tooth of an opossum, and rubbed with grease and red ochre during the ceremonies, the ochre still sticks in the groves.

Provenance: 1. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.

Commentary: There is no certain way to date the old churingas that are from the pre-contact period (before 1780). They can be as old as the Aboriginal culture, 40-50,000 years. With the earliest rockpaintings and carvings, the cylcons and the churingas represent the oldest form of communication and art, still present. The aborigine owner's belief is that his kuruna or spirit is intimately associated with his churinga. Even today the whole of Australia is dotted over with Knanikillas, or local totem centres. Each of these has a sacred storehouse for the tribe's and individuals' churingas, guarded by the inkata. Women, and men that had not passed through the ceremonies of circumcision and subincision, were not allowed to approach the storehouse, Pertalchera.

churinga thumbnail

ChuringaUS$not known MS 4628 [Sch°yen Collection]
churinga thumbnail

Described as:

Churinga of Kristian Pareroultja of Luritja tribe, representing possum living in Ungnalta tree at the top of Mount Zeil (Ernilna) along Rshero Creek (Altinama), the tree turning into the corraboree stone (churinga) song; central spiral is Mt. Zeil, large cross of parallel lines is the Ungnalta tree or totem pole, and the U-Shapes represent the corraboree, dancing ground.

MS in Aranda on green chist stone, Mount Zeil, Central Australia, before 1800, 1 oval churinga, 27x14x2 cm, aboriginal symbols incised with an incisor tooth of an opossum, rubbed with grease and ochre during the ceremonies, the ochre still sticking in the grooves.

Provenance: 1. Kristian Pareroultja of Luritja tribe (-1949); 2. Rex E. Battarbee, Ntarea (1949-); 3. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.

Commentary: Rex Battarbee (1893-1973), watercolorist and teacher of the Arunta School of Aboriginal painting, is a major figure in the history of Central Australia, being deeply involved in Austalian Aboriginal artistic culture and tradition. His autograph notes follow this churinga, with a drawing of it with the interpretation of its symbols. There is no certain way to date the old churingas that are from the pre-contact period (before 1780). They can be as old as the Aboriginal culture, 40-50,000 years. With the earliest rockpaintings and carvings, the cylcons and churingas represent the oldest form of communication and art, still present, and they represent the oldest religion still observed.

The aborigine owner's belief is that his kuruna or spirit is intimately associated with his churinga. Even today the whole of Australia is dotted over with Knanikillas, or local totem centres. Each of these has a sacred storehouse for the tribe's and individuals' churingas, guarded by the inkata. Women, and men that had not passed through the ceremonies of circumcision and subincision, were not allowed to approach the storehouse, Pertalchera. The aborigine people of the Central desert read the patterns on the churinga as representations of nature, a kind of map or site. The icons are not literally figurative. Rather they can be interpreted as a whole range of natural phenomena that are stereotyped in their typical form, so they become an artistic system. Each churinga had its own personal 'name', which had to be sung whenever it was being inspected or handled. The name was one of the verses from the sacred song cycle related to the actual totem centre.

Exhibited: The Norwegian Institute of Palaeography and Historical Philology (PHI), Oslo, 13.10.2003-

churinga thumbnail

ChuringaUS$not known MS 4610 [Sch°yen Collection]
churinga thumbnail

Described as:

Curinga: 3 campsites, waterholes or totem centres (concentric circles) with people sitting facing the centres, guards facing outwards (U-forms of 3 lines), as a part of the Aranda Aborigines' mythological landscape.

MS in Aranda on pinky weathered and worn chalk stone, Central Desert area, Australia, before 500, 1 oval churinga of 2 joining parts, 33x14x2 cm, aboriginal patterns incised with an incisor tooth of an opossum.

Provenance: 1. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.

Commentary: There is no certain way to date the old churingas that are from the pre- contact period (before 1780). They can be as old as the Aboriginal culture, 40-50,000 years. With the earliest rockpaintings and carvings, the cylcons and churingas represent the oldest form of communication and art, still present, and they represent the oldest religion still observed. The aborigine owner's belief is that his kuruna or spirit is intimately associated with his churinga. Even today the whole of Australia is dotted over with Knanikillas, or local totem centres. Each of these has a sacred storehouse for the tribe's and individuals' churingas, guarded by the inkata. Women, and men that had not passed through the ceremonies of circumcision and subincision, were not allowed to approach the storehouse, Pertalchera. The aborigine people of the Central desert read the patterns on the churinga as representations of nature, a kind of map or site. The icons are not literally figurative. Rather they can be interpreted as a whole range of natural phenomena that are stereotyped in their typical form, so they become an artistic system. Each churinga had its own personal "name", which had to be sung whenever it was being inspected or handled. The name was one of the verses from the sacred song cycle related to the actual totem centre.

churinga thumbnail