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This item is a rare medium sized Western Desert churinga (tjuringa) decorated on one side only with deeply chisled tribal markings depicting the letter "S". These flat incised sacred boards were either stone or wood and were used in Central Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia but their names and uses varied widely. They are best described as symbolic representations closely associated with the ancestors of the Dreamtime. Young initiates are in fact told that it is an ancestor in visible form. These objects brought life and strength to individuals and fertility from the mythological being whose spirit animated a particular area. Churingas were either personally owned or communal possessions. They were used in sacred ceremonies and were the element that made the ritual most effective and brought the participants into the midst of the other world which inspired and sustained the tribe. When not in use the churinga was hidden in a cave or hut, but the spirit remained close to it giving it still vitality. The tribal churinga ensured perpetuation of plant and animal life needed for the support of people. The photo below depicts an overall and closeup view of the decorated side of this artifact made in the early to mid 20th Century. Length = 66 cm. Width = 7.5 cm. Weight = 380 gm. This item is made out of dark red brown mulga wood. It is in excellent condition and without damage except for a small chip on one end as depicted in the upper right of the photo. This item is extremely rare and hard to find. I have been told that it is no longer legal to market these items within Australia and there may be restrictions in other countries as well. It is legal to market this item within the USA. If you live outside the USA, please check the civil code of your country before purchasing this item.