Australia – Aboriginal Art

Historic Art of Australia


Aboriginal Art


Aboriginal art is the name given to the art made by the native people of Australia. As well as rock paintings, it includes sand painting, rock and wood carving, and paintings on leaves.


The oldest Aboriginal art is thought to be about 40,000 years old.


The Dreamtime is the Aboriginal understanding of the world, of its creation, and its great stories.



Symbols used in aboriginal art


The symbol in the top left means: Rainbow or cloud or cliff or sandhill.

The two symbols next to it mean: Rain.

The one that looks like a U means: Man.

The one to the right of ‘man’ means: Two men sitting.

The symbol on the second row to the left mean: Fire or smoke or water or blood.

The one beside that: Usually mean four women sitting.   The one beneath ‘two men sitting’ is: Camp site, stone, well, rock hole, fire, hole, or fruit.     The one on the third row 1stto the left means: Waterholes connected by running water.     The one a bit lower to the right means: siting-down place.  The one two the right of that means: Footprints.   The one on the next row to the left means: Clouds, boomerangs or windbreaks.   The symbol to the right of that means: Star.  The one below that: Can mean water, a rainbow, a snake, lightning, a cliff or honey store.   The one to the right of that is a symbol that means: Travelling sign with circles as resting place.



Most aboriginal paintings have a curtain bit in it that ends up being painted more than once.

In the picture above and to the left it has fivesymbols for what means ‘four women sitting.’ The same thing five times.


In the picture next to that (the blue one) it shows fourturtles in a sea, ocean, river or lake. 

It is the same thing four times. Most paintings of aboriginal artwork are colourful, and some are bright. They mostly use quite a few colours to make it interesting, not dull. In the two pictures above there has been quite a lot of colours that have been used to make it stand out and interesting to look at.