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Spear Thrower (woomera): Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Carried by Aboriginal hunters and sometimes used in battle, a woomera, or spear thrower, was used to effectively lengthen the arm and in turn increase the velocity and range of the spear. It has a narrow tip that is embedded in the hollow end of the weapon, while the opposite end works as a counterweight.

These two spear throwers are decorated with carved abstract patterns that traditionally represent the creator ancestors and their activities. Illustrating common motifs found in Western Australia, one woomera is engraved with a diamond and zigzag design, while the other has three registers filled with herringbone patterns. These spear throwers are excellent examples of complex Aboriginal decorative carving and demonstrate the care and attention that was paid to even the most utilitarian of objects.

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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 25, 2010