Aboriginal sand paintings

Sand paintings were created for significant ceremonies. 

The ceremony could be to depict the journey of a spiritual ancestor from a distant place;  as in the journey of the Tingari creator spirits, or to honor the coming of a season with abundant food, it might also be a survival map to teach the young initiates where food or waterholes are found.

The area for each sand painting is always carefully prepared, the ground is cleared and the surface is spread with termite-nest gravel mixed with water to a paste, when dried this hardens to give a firm surface.  The senior lawmen then create the Dreamtime story showing, land, animals, plants and spiritual symbols;  created with sand, ochres, leaves, feathers and sticks.  The designs can be a series of round circles, wavy lines, mounds or any of the many symbols that represent their Dreamtime journey and the land that it represents.

The majority of these sand paintings are restricted to senior lawmen.

Sand paintings can cover a huge area and can be as large as one hectare, they are always destroyed at the end of the ceremony.

Paintings on canvas that depict these ceremonies can often be over-painted to hide some of the sacred information of the Dreamtime story.  There can also be a repetition of pattern and design, the sacred designs hidden and only known to the initiated senior lawmen.

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