Unknown Artist
A Hooked or Swann-Necked Boomerang, Early 20th Century

with finely incised fluting across mulga wood, one painted end of white and black tones, with cross hatching on the handle for ease and security of use, stone-axe carved, Fighting and Hunting Boomerang, rubbed with red ochre
Central Desert
early 20th Century
67 cm long x 18.5 cm
with stand

Arthur Beau Palmer Gallery, 2006
Private Collection, Queensland
Private Collection, Sydney

Associated work
Swan-neck shape boomerang. [ZM 13/2/2006], Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford England

Swann-Necked boomerangs were traded across vast regions of Central Australia; however, they were mainly associated with the Warlpiri and Warumungu people in the Tennant Creek area of the Northern Territory. Swan-Necked Boomerangs were used in both fighting and hunting; thrown into a flock of rising parrots or ducks from inland waterholes, these boomerangs had a devastating effect.

This mulga-wood boomerang, like many used in the early 20th century, were carved from the junction between a tree root and trunk, exploiting the natural curve of the wood to create a strong hook. When the boomerang was used for fighting, the hook might catch on an enemy’s shield or club and swing round to strike him on the face or body.

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