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Aboriginal Australia

Howard Morphy, Andrée Rosenfeld, Peter Sutton, Ian Keen, Catherine H. Berndt, Ronald M. Berndt, Paul Memmott, Kate Khan, Betty Meehan, Carol Cooper, Luke Taylor, Robert Layton, J. V. S. Megaw, M. Ruth Megaw and Francesca Cavazzini

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T000140

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Culture of the original inhabitants of Australia and their descendants. This survey covers the traditional art forms of the Australian Aborigines, such as rock art, sculpture in wood, clay and sand, body decoration, and bark painting, both before and after European colonization took place at the end of the 18th century. It also examines the interrelationships between the art of Aboriginal groups living in different regions on the continent. Traditional art forms have continued to be produced in most regions well into the late 20th century, but at the same time some contemporary Aboriginal artists, influenced by the dominant white culture in which they now live, have begun to explore new forms and media; this art, produced mainly for external markets, is discussed separately.

Australia and New Guinea formed a single landmass, the prehistoric continent of Sahul, until c. 8000 years ago, when the rising sea-level separated them at the Torres Strait. This continent was first occupied at least 40,000 years ago, by people who arrived by boat from South-east Asia. By 30,000 ...

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Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art ; Prehistoric Art

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