Churinga

oceania | Australia

Churinga

Australia

Churinga votive board
Aboriginal peoples

Carved Wood and pigments
Early 20th century or earlier
Height: 6 ½ in. (24.5 cm)

Ex private collection, France

Churinga 24.5 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
Churinga (or Tjurunga) votive boards of the Central Desert in Australia are sacred objects symbolizing the spirits of the ancestors and marking the place of the clan in the world.
Each tribe, clan, family, are connected to animals, plants or inanimate objects. The myths and relationships between each human group are inscribed in the churinga. These ties are highlighted during aboriginal ceremonies, songs and peregrinations that are often described as "Songlines". The conventional tracks recall the legends and symbols that will help the holder to recall the founding myths.
Churingas were carved with great care and patience. These revered objects could only be seen by initiated men during ceremonial times. The rest of the year, churingas were preciously wrapped in tapa (bark) cloth or in animal skins and kept in sacred places.

This sculpture is redolent with sacredness and mystery.

"...the labyrinth of invisible pathways which meander all over Australia and are known to Europeans as 'Dreaming-tracks' or 'Songlines'; to the Aboriginals as the 'Footprints of the Ancestors' or the 'Way of the Law’. Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic being who wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path - birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes - and so singing the world into existence.''

Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines, 1987
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