Western Desert Aboriginal Hardwood Spear Thrower ‘Woomera’
Western Desert Aboriginal Hardwood Spear Thrower ‘Woomera’
Western Desert Aboriginal Hardwood Spear Thrower ‘Woomera’

Western Desert Aboriginal Hardwood Spear Thrower ‘Woomera’

1800 to 1900 Australia

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An Australian Western Desert Aboriginal Hardwood Spear Thrower ‘Woomera’
Of incurved form etched with a herringbone design to both sides the end with a kangaroo claw attached with resin and fibre. The other end with a stone set into a resin handle
Traces of pipe clay old dry dusty patina
19th Century

Size: 56.5cm long – 22¼ ins long
Provenance: Ex English Private collection
Hunting was the main activity of aboriginal men and the spear was their principal weapon. The spear thrower was used to increase the accuracy and penetration of the spear and it varied in form according to the tribal area. Men were principally responsible for providing the largest items of diet and for making fire, which was vitally important for keeping warm in the cold desert nights and for cooking meat and other foodstuffs. In the central desert areas the firesaw method, in which a piece of hardwood was sawn along a groove in a softer piece, was used. The sharp edge of a spear thrower was often employed and sometimes a shield would serve as the softwood component.
Medium
Wood, flint, gum and pigment
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