The designs or patterns reflect a person's' relationship and standing in the community and also their ancestors and totem animal.
The body painting is part of the complex laws and religion and stories that make up ceremonial life.
There are a number of art works in our store collection that are based on the body patterns and stories of the artists designs.
The painting is mainly carried out for the ceremonies that are part of Aboriginal culture.
Each ceremony has different painting symbols used to link specifically for that particular ceremony.
No cultural ceremony is performed until the initiated (senior men) are satisfied that all the participants are fully able to fulfil their obligations.
Sometimes it takes many hours or days of preparations and training sessions.
A person cannot change their body art design and the designs are not applied by the individual.
This body art is also representative of the various regions and their totemic responsibilities to that group showing the participants position within this grouping
The initiated men are also carefully painted in order to perform this sacred ceremony
There is also a more permanent form of body decoration.
The scarring of the skin by cutting the skin with a sharp stone of shell and rubbing ash or sand into the wound to create a permanent keloid scar on the skin.
These scars are also a mark of the persons status.
In one of the Women's Ceremonies they use special painting symbols to encourage breast grown as part of the sacred women's business.
Each of the hunting ceremonies has special painting symbols used again specifically to encourage a successful hunt from that ceremony .
The markings are applied using ochre a soft rock that is crushed and mixed with animal fat and used to apply the designs, ash and clay are also used .
The body art may stay in place for some time as some ceremonies may last for several days and nights which includes dancing, singing and storytelling.
Aboriginal Body Painting is a special and necessary part of all Aboriginal ceremonies