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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer


Wooden bowl called piti


Wooden bowl called piti

Object information

Physical description

A wooden bowl called a piti that was used in the bush by the 'last' Pintupi family group from the Lake Mackay area in the Western Desert in 1984.

Statement of significance

Pintupi wooden, bark and stone implements and ochre, 1984; and post-contact Western Desert Aboriginal artworks dealing with the theme of biological invasion.

The main part of this collection consists of ethnographic items that belonged to a group of nine Pintupi people who lived fully traditional lives in the isolated Lake Mackay area of the Western Desert until 1984 - when they made contact with the Kiwikurrer community. At this time they met Europeans for the first time. Apart from these few items of material culture, fire was their principal tool. This poignant collection documents the last known fully traditional Aboriginal group in Australia, and the last case of initial contact between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The collection also includes some post-contact contemporary artworks from the Western Desert that deal with environmental history themes such as Indigenous responses to the invasion of Central Australia by the introduced European Wild Rabbit. This is a little explored secondary aspect of contact history.

Object information

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