Baby Feet Cave near Rylstone NSW
Aboriginal stencil art is found in many caves & rock overhangs in Australia dating between 10,000 to 40,000 years old. Hands are the most common & usually located in a group of hand stencils, although other objects may included boomerangs, axes & spears. The hand represents the signature of the individual who placed it there. A baby feet stencil can be found on the wall of this overhang.
Children’s stencils are usually found in lower areas where they were made when the child was very young. Only after initiation were they allowed to place a second stencil. Elders were the only ones who could have the stencil of the entire forearm on a rock wall. The higher up a hand stencil, the more of the wrist & arm appeared, the more important the person was.
The person who wants to leave the hand stencil takes a mixture of ground ochre, water & animal fat into their mouth & blows it over the hand placed on the wall. This creates a splatter painting, but clearly shows a silhouette of the hand.
Today these precious reminders of Australia's
Aboriginal past are protected. When entering such places respect
should be given at all times. In some areas initiated men such as
Community Elders are the traditional appointed care takers of the
sites. They will refresh some of the stencils which makes
identifying the actual age of the paintings very difficult.
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