CHURINGA OF PAPATJOKURPA OF LURITJA TRIBE

MS 4629
MS Short Title CHURINGA OF PAPATJOKURPA OF LURITJA TRIBE
Text CHURINGA OF PAPATJOKURPA OF LURITJA TRIBE, 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, SCARIFICATION 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 PARAKANNEE
Description 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.
Place of origin Central Australia
Dates Before 1800

Location