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When does a Spear become Art?

The Spear is one of the oldest of all implements’ developed for both protection and hunting for food.

It has also had a ceremonial function and has been used and decorated for that purpose for years. It is also used as a ceremonial object in many other cultures.

The Australian Aboriginals spear is usually made from iron wood or another similar hardwood is handcrafted and finely balanced.

Most of these are not tipped with metal or stone but have hardened tips from heat from the fire.

The exception would be the Aborigines from the Kimberly in the far North of Australia and the Aboriginal men of Arnhem Land.

Some of these men used the glass like mineral deposits left by earlier volcanoes or the glass from the insulators on the overland telegraph poles broken and shaped into arrow points tied with pandanis string and toughened with bees wax.

The Aborigines in Arnhem Land had access to metal from their trading with the islanders in the north and likely used metal to tip their hunting sticks.

The woomera, a long hunting stick, is one that is thrown using another piece of wood in which the longer part rests.

The end of the throwing stick has an indentation to allow the end of the stick to rest easily into it.

The effect of using the thrower is a longer more powerful throw and it works like your forearm and elbow would.

The decorated ceremonial spear is one is used only for ceremony with various types used in the different regional areas of Australia and may be decorated with flowers or feathers as well as painted or carved.

They are decorated in the traditional motifs and patterns of that region.

The one used for ceremony is not now used for any other purpose then that of a particular ceremony.

These cultural imitations are often made of much lighter woods may be carved and or painted and may be passed down within a family group or sold to tourists.