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Aborigines are the original, or native, people of mainland Australia and the island of Tasmania. Aborigines are descendants of explorers who arrived to the continent 50,000 to 80,000 years ago.
There exists over 400 distinct Australian Aboriginal groups of peoples across the continent. Each group can be distinguished by unique names depending upon ancestral language, dialect, and mannerism. The term or category "Australian Aborigines" is a classification invented by the British after colonization of Australia began in 1788.
Aboriginal rock art and bark painting is considered to be the oldest continuing tradition of art in the world. Some examples date back thousands of years, with evidence of creation dates as far back as 30,000 years.
Aboriginal masks are usually decorated with symbols indicated by numerous and colorful, lines, dots and circles. The symbols serve as road maps to indicate locations of sacred sites, waterholes where animals gather and to illustrate Dream time stories.
The term Dreaming, or Dream time, refers collectively to aboriginal religious beliefs to answer questions of human existance and life on earth. The Dreaming can include the past, present and future events, as they believed that their identity was derived from ancestral spirits so their future is always affected by past and present events.
Symbols on artworks can have multiple Dream time Story meanings. Masks and other artwork decorated with wavy lines can indicate running water or creek beds or dry hills of sand. Colorful patterns of dots can indicate stars in the sky or commonly found native berries.
Australian art is quite beautiful and ornate. My little mask really doesn't do it justice. Search for Aboriginal art images and prepare for some fantastic, jaw dropping images.