Archaeologists Have Found an Extraordinary New Type of Aboriginal Rock Artwork That Honors the Human-Animal Bond

Digital tracing of panel of three bilby-like animals, Awunbarna. Image by Fiona Brady.

Archaeologists have found a brand new fashion of historic Australian rock artwork that options uncommon depictions of human and animal figures, seemingly dwelling in concord. The works from this historic artwork motion have been collectively dubbed the Maliwawa Figures, after the identify of the place (within the indigenous Mawng language) the place the work had been discovered.

“We got here throughout some curious work which might be in contrast to something we’d seen earlier than,” Paul Taçon, the creator of a brand new examine on the work in Australian Archaeology, informed the BBC.

The paper describes the Maliwawa Figures as a lacking hyperlink within the historical past of Aboriginal artwork, bridging the hole between the massive naturalistic animals attribute of the dynamic figures, created about 12,000 years in the past, and the stick figures that arose round 4,000 years in the past.

Throughout 12 years of analysis, Taçon and his group recognized 570 rock artwork works that match the brand new Maliwawa Figures fashion. The traditional artworks vary from 6,000 to 9,400 years previous and have been found at 87 websites throughout an 80-miles stretch of northern Australia’s Arnhem Land.

Digital tracing of panel of three bilby-like animals, Awunbarna. Image by Fiona Brady.

Digital tracing of panel of three bilby-like animals, Awunbarna. Picture by Fiona Brady.

“Animal-human relationships seem like central to the artists’ message,” the paper says, noting that just one portray seems to depict looking. “The artists are clearly speaking points of their cultural beliefs, with an emphasis on essential animals and interactions between people and different people or animals.”

Intriguingly, one of many historic work options the oldest-known depictions of a marine mammal often called the dugong.

There are additionally figures that seem like bilbies, small, long-eared, nocturnal marsupials which might be native to Australia and have by no means been depicted in recognized Indigenous rock artwork. They’re additionally not recognized to have lived in prehistoric Arnhem Land, which means that the species’ vary was as soon as wider than it’s right this moment.

Maliwawa dugong above and to the left of a small Maliwawa macropod, Namunidjbuk. Photo by Paul Taçon.

Maliwawa dugong above and to the left of a small Maliwawa macropod, Namunidjbuk. Photograph by Paul Taçon.

The Maliwawa Figures are fairly giant scale—most at the very least two-and-a-half-feet tall, and a few even life-size. Tthey are painted with crimson outlines and a few examples have extra detailed inside line work, suggesting the hand of various artists, though it’s arduous to say precisely what number of.

“It’s even attainable solely a few artists made a lot of the work,” the paper states. “We all know… that particular person rock artwork artists can produce a exceptional variety of work of their lifetime.”

See extra pictures of the Maliwawa Figures under.

Large male Maliwawa human figures from an Awunbarna site. Photo by Paul Taçon.

Giant male Maliwawa human figures from an Awunbarna web site. Photograph by Paul Taçon.

Large male Maliwawa human figures from an Awunbarna site. Photo by Paul Taçon.

Giant male Maliwawa human figures from an Awunbarna web site. Photograph by Paul Taçon.

Maliwawa macropod, Namunidjbuk. Photo by Paul Taçon.

Maliwawa macropod, Namunidjbuk. Photograph by Paul Taçon.

Observe artnet Information on Fb:


Need to keep forward of the artwork world? Subscribe to our publication to get the breaking information, eye-opening interviews, and incisive important takes that drive the dialog ahead.

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *