An unusual Australian Aborigine ritual kit: Kurdaitcha shoes, pointing bone, wood churinga
Lot 1432
An unusual Australian Aborigine ritual kit: Kurdaitcha shoes, pointing bone, wood churinga
Sold for US$ 998 inc. premium

Lot Details
Property of various owners
A rare and unusual West Australia Aboriginal ritual kit
Including a pair of Kurdaitcha shoes form the Balgo Hills Community, made from braided human hair cordage, a nest of emu feathers on the soles, each with a twisted cord across the center to hold the foot in place; along with a bone pointing stick, a resin ball and human hair cord at one tip, the other extreme tapered to a point, notched with incised circles throughout its length; and a small wood churinga, of elliptical form, designed with series of concentric circular spirals on one side, the reverse with a busy pattern of smaller spirals and engraved meandering track marks, rubbed with ochre pigments.
length 7 1/2, 8 and 7 3/4in
See illustration

Footnotes

  • Such shoes were worn by a tribal executioner when called upon to mete out justice, the construction designed to disguise his identity which would, otherwise, be easily recognized from his footprints. The pointing bone was used by Kurdaitcha men as an implement for the psychological assassination of those who violated a serious tribal law. The notches are said to record occasions of use. The churinga was collected at the same time as part of the same kit. For an illustrated example, see Phelps, Steven, "Art and Artifacts of the Pacific, Africa and the Americas - the James Hooper Collection", Hutchinson of London, 1976, p. 277, ill. 1307.
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