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Kimberly ‘Point’ Glass Spear Head
Aboriginal People, possibly the Bunuba People, Kimberley Region, Northern Western Australia
late 19th-early 20th century
entire length: 18.8cm, length of (exposed) head: 3.5cm, width: 2.6cm
This fine example of what is known as a Kimberley 'point' glass spear head, was made by the Aboriginals of the Kimberley region in the far north of Western
Australia. The Bunuba people were the main group in the area.
It is an interesting example of the early impact of white settlement on the indigenous people. Traditional spear heads were fashioned from flint and other
suitable hard stones, but this example has been made by chipping away at glass - probably from a glass bottle discarded by a white settler. It is of amber
glass, tear-shaped, double-edged and comes to a long, fine point.
It has been fixed to a short wooden shaft with resin or gum, and then the resin and shaft have been daubed with pink ochre.
A number of these are in the British Museum. See Sculthorpe et al (2015, p. 169) for an example that was collected in the Kimberley region in 1899 by a
policeman who had been sent to the region to disperse camps of Aboriginal people some of whom were suspected of having taken sheep that belonged to the
settlers, and even of murders of settlers. (Such conflicts were a feature as the settlers appropriated the traditional land of the Aboriginals.) The spear head
was among the items collected from a dispersed camp and sent to the Museum.
Click here to read about Kimberley Points in the British Museum.
The example here is in excellent condition.
Sculthorpe, G., et al., Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation, The British Museum, 2015.
Provenance: private collection, Channel Islands.
Inventory no.: 3727
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