KRISTIAN PAREROULTJA CHURINGA

MS 4628
MS Short Title KRISTIAN PAREROULTJA CHURINGA
Text CHURINGA OF KRISTIAN PAREROULTJA OF LURITJA TRIBE, REPRESENTING POSSUM LIVING IN UNGNALTA TREE AT THE TOP OF MOUNT ZEIL (ERNILNA) ALONG RASHERO 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
Description 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, 13.10.2003-06.2005.
Place of origin Australia
Dates before 1800 AD

Location