SACRED CHURINGA MESSAGE BOARD W/ COMPLEX DESIGNS
Origin: Australia, Northern Territory, Possible Wardaman tribe (Provenance: Acquired from the collection of Robin Greer in Brisbane)
Period/Date: Early 20th century, possibly older
Materials: hardwood, traces of red ocher pigments
Description: This sizeable stone-cut scared churinga is incised on both sides featuring meandering totemic designs with varying interconnected concentric circles and symbols. Its dark reddish-brown surface is well-worn and smooth to the touch with remnant red ochre. In good condition except for some minor chips around the edges which would be expected on a piece of this age. Presented on a custom bronze display base.
Churingas were cult objects kept at sacred localities. The designs on them are symbolic of aboriginal mythology; and had mystic power, for they were the dwelling place of spirits. One of the many functions of a "churinga" was that it held the sacred ancestral stories which were to be passed down through the descendants. Churingas were brought out during ceremonies to commemorate totem ancestors. The oval form duplicates that of the wooden "bull-roarers" which reproduce spirit voices.
Dimensions: Height 37.5" (95 cm), Width 4.5" (11.5 cm)