Recognising Aboriginal architecture from northeast Arnhem Land: The 'ancestral aesthetic' in Yolngu dwellings and ceremonial structure

Fantin, Shaneen R. (2002). Recognising Aboriginal architecture from northeast Arnhem Land: The 'ancestral aesthetic' in Yolngu dwellings and ceremonial structure. In: J. Macarthur and A. Moulis, Additions to architectural history : Nineteenth annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Additions to Architectural History, XIXth Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane, Qld, Australia, (). 4-7 October, 2002.


Author Fantin, Shaneen R.
Title of paper Recognising Aboriginal architecture from northeast Arnhem Land: The 'ancestral aesthetic' in Yolngu dwellings and ceremonial structure
Conference name Additions to Architectural History, XIXth Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Conference location Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Conference dates 4-7 October, 2002
Proceedings title Additions to architectural history : Nineteenth annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Place of Publication Brisbane, Australia
Publisher Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Publication Year 2002
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 1864996471
Editor J. Macarthur
A. Moulis
Total pages 14
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
The dwellings and ceremonial structures of the Yolngu people in northeast Arnhem Land contain ancestral representations which have anthropomorphic and/or animal qualities. Although these representations and qualities have been recorded by anthropologists and an environmental psychologist, there has been little investigation undertaken into the relationship between Yolngu ancestral histories and vernacular architecture. The paper aims to extend this research by presenting the ‘ancestral aesthetic’ qualities of a selection of Yolngu dwellings, structures, and places based on the meanings of their names in various Yolngu languages, their presence in Yolngu cosmogony, and their relationship to Yolngu social identity as enacted through ceremony.

First I provide an outline of the Yolngu worldview and their living patterns as recorded by explorers and anthropologists prior to 1935. This creates a background for the introduction of the Yolngu architectural repertoire, a typology of Yolngu dwellings and structures I have derived from the literature and fieldwork. The religious and social symbolism inherent in one structure from the Yolngu architectural repertoire is demonstrated through an analysis of its presence in ancestral histories and ceremony. This is followed by an exploration of how Aboriginal religious architecture is created through the process of ceremony. I argue that the union of song, dance, ground sculptures, ceremonial artefacts, and shelters, make places which are imbued with ancestral power and constitute a temporary religious architecture.
Subjects E1
310101 Architecture
680201 Housing
Keyword Yolngu
dwellings
ceremonial structures
northeast Arnhem Land
ancestral representations
Architecture
Q-Index Code E1
Additional Notes 14 pp (CD)

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Aboriginal Environments Research Centre Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 01:13:36 EST