Deciphering Symbols in Aboriginal Art – Baroque House Magazine

Aboriginal art is not only one of the oldest art forms, dating back more than 17,000 years, but also one of the most culturally important as it contains a depth of meaning.

Since the Aboriginal people of Australia do not have a composite language, Aboriginal artwork and iconography is the secret to storytelling and basic interaction. Aboriginal art itself is rich in meaning and through its clues we can interpret these ancient messages.

Much of Aboriginal art is essential for passing down stories and secret information about the land from generation to generation. Although these combinations of dots, lines, and other markings may seem random, they are actually incredibly imaginative and well-planned.

Once understood, Aboriginal art offers insight into the nature of the Australian land, history and Aboriginal beliefs. Examining standard Aboriginal rock art, wood carvings and cave paintings will reveal these ancient stories.

The Baroque House reveals some secret clues to Aboriginal art and its meaning to help you unravel its ancient stories!

The People

In Aboriginal art, individuals are represented with a ‘u’ shape. Whilst this might appear weird, the description for it is easy; it is the shape left in the ground after people sit cross legged.

Whether this sign represents a guy or a female is identified by the tools and utensils etched next to it. For example, a guy might have a spear or a boomerang, whilst a lady will have a digging stick or a coolamon (a standard bag utilized to transportation water or berries).

Meeting Places

Depictions of conference locations in aboriginal art were necessary for survival functions. They notified lateron generations where to discover shelter or water, provided the hostile nature of the Australian wilderness. They are likewise considerable due to the sacredness of such locations, significance they are routinely happening signs in art which informs stories of a more spiritual nature.

The sign for waterholes is a series of concentric circles, and numerous waterholes linked by wavy lines recommend running water.

A painting of a series of linked waterholes, source: Watersource

Similarly, the sign for conference locations is a series of concentric circles with adjacent lines which represents courses taken to showup by various individuals. Meeting locations were an very essential element of Aboriginal life where individuals would come together and collect and sit in a circle.

Rockholes are another example of websites that were both substantial virtually and spiritually, and therefore appear typically in Aborignal art. They not just offered a source of water however were likewise the place for numerous spiritual and cultural events.

A painting of a rockhole, source: Bluethumb


Most frequently, animals are represented by the unique tracks they leave behind. For example, kangaroos tracks are defined by the tick shape prints left in the sand by their feet and a line in the middle which represents the mark left by the tail.

Some animals have more of a spiritual significance in Aboriginal art. As a basic component of development beliefs held by Aboriginal individuals, and a sign of strength, imagination and connection, the snake functions greatly in Aborignal artwork.

A rainbow snake, source: Doongal Aboriginal Art

Another animal of significance is the turtle. In Aboriginal art, the turtle symbolizes the Warabah, an symbol of defense and the warrior.


Food is naturally an essential component of Aboriginal art. Its existence was utilized to interact to lateron generations the place of offered sources of nutrition. The “bush tucker,” food native to Australia, consists of berries, plants, fruits and eggs and meat from native animals. Additionally, this consistedof any plants and animals utilized in both cooking and dealingwith disease.

A couple of typical signs are honey ants in their nest, fruits, flowers and eggs (all symbolised by little circles), as well as bush berries, the yam plant and witchetty grubs.

A variety of bush tucker food, source: Spirit Gallery


Due to the extensive connection inbetween the aboriginal individuals and their land, the power of the aspects extends beyond the physical and into the spiritual. This manifests in the representation of nature in artwork. For example, aboiginal individuals commemorate rains by carryingout tune and dance in events. Stars are likewise incredibly substantial as they are a reliedon source of instructions and are referred to as totemic beings.

Another secret component of Aboriginal art are the unique dots. Interestingly, these types of paintings stemmed from the period of colonisation. They were established out of worry that white inhabitants might comprehend the ancient and spiritual understanding within Aboriginal art. The dots intended to hide significance from the inexperienced eye however were still intelligible to the Aborginal individuals.

And there you have it, some of the most typical and essential signs within Aboriginal art, and the ancient significance behind them. If you would like to discover out more about Aboriginal art or find some pieces for your own house, appearance no evenmore than our choice of stunning Aboriginal artwork on Baroque House!

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