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Aboriginal Tourism - Indigenous Australia - Iconography and Symbols
The dotted motifs of much of today's Aboriginal modern design work has become the trademark of the contemporary Aboriginal Art movement. Its iconic status developed from a culture stretching back into the history of an ancient land, evolving and weaving into desert dreamtime stories.

Some of the symbols used in Aboriginal art appear to be the same, but can mean different things, such as the circle symbol and when viewed in monochrome the symbol can look similar, such as the circles within circles, sometimes depicted on its own, sparsely or in clustered groups.

When this symbol is used and depending on the Aboriginal tribe you belong to, it can vary in meaning from campfire, tree, hill, digging hole, waterhole or spring. It use of the symbol can be clarified further by the use of colour, with water often being depicted as blue.
 

Whatever the meaning, interpretations of the symbols should be taken in context of the entire painting, the region from which the artist originates from, the story behind the painting, the style of the painting, with additional clues being the colours used in some of the more modern works.

The Aboriginal artist often depicted tools and weapons in their art work. These being a reflection of what they used in everyday life, whether it is the digging stick and coolamon for gathering bush tucker, or the boomerang used in hunting and ceremonial purposes.

Aboriginal - Symbols, Icons and Imagery

Symbols • Human Activity • Man Woman Child • Tools • Bush Tucker • Wildlife
• Environment Landscape • Rain River Water

Tools - Symbols, Icons and Imagery

boomerang - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
boomerang
- used by Aboriginal men for hunting small animals and ceremonies
spear - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
spear
used as a weapon for hunting prey. Sometimes used in conjunction with the woomera.
woomera - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
woomera (spear thrower)
- is used by Aboriginal men to throw their spear further.
hunting boomerang - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
hunting boomerang
- crafted into a shape similar to the number seven, the longer part is the handle. The shorter end is usually sharp, and used by Aboriginal men for hunting larger animals and in ceremonies as a clapping stick. These boomerangs do not return when thrown.
2 types of spears - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
two types of spears
- these hand made spears are used as a weapon for hunting prey. Aboriginal men made different kinds of spears for hunting and fighting. There is a three prong spear used for fishing.
woomera - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
woomera (spear thrower)
- another icon depiction of the woomera. They are used to make the spear go straighter and faster.
boomerangs - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
boomerangs
- are often depicted with other hunting implements and the male form. They are also shown in pairs or with other types of boomerangs. Boomerangs come in all shape and sizes.
clapping sticks or digging sticks - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
clapping sticks or digging sticks
- usually sharpen at the end and used by Aboriginal women for digging edible bush tucker. They are also used as clapping sticks in women's ceremonies.
nulla nulla - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
nulla nulla
- use at close quarters or thrown. The shape and size vary between tribes, from half to one metre in length and is used as a club or throwing stick. Sometimes depicted as a pair.
club or nulla nulla - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
club or nulla nulla
returning boomerang - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
returning boomerang
Coolamon and digging stick - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
coolamon (dish)
and digging stick
woman with coolamon and digging stick - Aboriginal Art & Symbolism © AusEmade PL
woman with coolamon and digging stick
   
 
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