Secrets of Australian Kimberley Petroglyphs
Kimberley mountain rangesstretched across the northwest tipAustralia. For many centuries, these uncomfortable and sparsely populated places have been home to several tribes of Australian aborigines — nambaline, warror, ngarinyin, and others.
Here, on the Mitchell Plateau and in the valleys of the Glenelj River, the Prince Regent and King Edward, 60-80 miles from the ocean coast, in the places sheltered from human eyes, in the rocks and in numerous caves, the ancient ritual places of this people are hidden, visited, as a rule, only by old men, on whom the tribe entrusted the duties of communicating with spirits.
These rocks and cave walls are awesome.by drawingsmany of which are hundreds or even thousands of years old. Among them you can often find images of mysterious, mouth-deprived creatures with large round eyes. As a rule, they are dressed in long clothes.
Their frozen white faces look like masks. Hands and legs are worked out weakly, often they are barely outlined and almost merge with the light, shaded body in some places.Necklaces are occasionally written on the chest, but more often an oval-shaped object is depicted, usually interpreted as a heart or a breast bone.
The heads are surrounded by a strange horseshoe-shaped or arc-shaped halo, very reminiscent of the haloes of the Christian saints. At the top of the paintings, sometimes you can see mysterious signs resembling some eastern letters.
Sacred to the Kimberley aborigines, these images are revered by them as images of mysterious, powerful creatures that, however, came in these ancient times. They taught the local inhabitants to use tools and weapons, gave them tribal laws, rites and customs, after completing their mission, they left - some to heaven, others underground.
These mysterious creatures called themselvesvonjins. Today's aborigines call it water spirits.
The water for these drained places is rain. Rain means life. It is the source of all that the earth gives. The spirits of the water — the Vonjins — are the lords and stewards of life, the lords and stewards of everything on this earth, its supreme deities. Around them are often depicted various animals and plants — these are the children of Vonjina.
The oldest person in the tribe or in the group of hunters has to rewrite Vonjina's images annually before the beginning of the monsoon period. The picture is updated along the old contour, fully preserving all the details of the previous drawing. Renewing Wonjin images, according to Aboriginal beliefs, causes rain. The natives believe that when the image is erased and Wonjina disappears, then drought and famine come.
Vonjins are part of the daily life of the tribes who have hunted in the Kimberley Mountains for many years. Wonjin is depicted not only on the rocks and walls of caves, but also on the cradles of newborn babies, on ceremonial boomerangs and shields, on a myriad of various talismans, amulets and other symbolic handicrafts.
But at the same time, the aborigines are piously convinced that the first Wonjin images were made ... not they. Authorship belongs to some mysterious people of a different race who lived here many years ago and disappeared into the unknown.
For many decades, anthropologists and ethnologists have been puzzled over the mystery of Wonjin origin. Many assumptions were made on this subject.
The most exotic is the hypothesis that the Wonjins are aliens from space. This, according to the authors of the version, is indicated by the clearly “extraterrestrial” look of a Wonjin and a strange halo around their heads, very much like astronauts' spherical helmets. Proponents of the theory of "paleovizita" guarantee that the vonjin figures are images of aliens.
There are other hypotheses about this. The main problem is that it is impossible to even approximately determine how long the first Wonjeen images appeared on the Kimberley rocks: this could have happened two hundred or two thousand years ago.
Australian aborigines live only in two time dimensions: for them there are “primitive times”, or the times of Creation, when all life on Earth originated, and the present. There is no past, but they are not interested in the future. Aboriginal people also have no accounts for years: their language has the numerals “one”, “two” and “three”, and for the numeral “four” the term “very much” is already used.
Aboriginal people make a clear distinction between works of art that they consider to be their own and those that date back to the Creation.They refer the images of vodzhins to the second category and do not consider their own, although they took the responsibility to regularly update them for ritual purposes.
The tribes of North Kimberley have a legend that the ancestors of their family clans came to Australia in boats led by people called Wonjin, although each of them had its own name. These aliens from across the sea painted their symbolic images in the underground galleries and on the surface of the rocks. When the Vonjins left these places, they went underground, leaving their footprints on the stone.
Aboriginal legends clearly present the very real circumstances of the arrival and departure of the Wongjin: the boats on which they sailed and may have sailed; weapons and tools that they taught aborigines to use. What hides under this layer of ancient legends?
Back in the 1930s. the first researchers of the Kimberley rock paintings suggested that the image of the Wongine could embody the story of sailors from the Old World or Southeast Asia who escaped the wreck of a ship several centuries ago.
It is possible that on the northwest coast of Australia for some time there was a tiny colony of shipwrecked sailors - Europeans or Malays.Its fate is difficult to guess - maybe they left the Green Continent, and maybe they were exterminated by the aborigines.
After them, there were only strange rock paintings in which the natives tried to comprehend their historical experience of communicating with people of a different, more advanced race, and integrate it into the system of their world view and mythology. Thus was born the image of Wonjina ...
In an attempt to shed light on the mystery of the mysterious drawings, the researchers found that the clothes, similar to the clothes of the Vonginas, were worn by the inhabitants of the northeastern islands of Indonesia, Xiaow and Sanghi, located north of Sulawesi. And far to the south of Kimberley, in the upper reaches of the Gascoyne River (Western Australia), G. Giles met a small group of Aborigines, who had obviously Asian features.
The similarity of Wonjin robes and clothing of inhabitants of some Indonesian islands, the presence of Asian (Malayan) features among certain groups of Aborigines - all this seems to indicate the direction in which to move in order to find the clue to the mystery of Kimberley’s drawings.
However, some researchers offer another version of the origin of the mysterious Wongin.In their opinion, long robes, resembling robes, and the radiance around the heads of these mysterious creatures originate ... from Christian icons!
Christianity came to South, and then to Southeast Asia, already in rather early times. In the 8th — 14th centuries in China, especially in the ports of the southern coast, hundreds of thousands of Christians lived, and in the 12th – 14th centuries. in Zaitun (Quanzhou) there existed a bishop who maintained contact with Rome.
Maybe a ship carrying Chinese Christians was once crashed off the coast of north western Australia? Or is it an echo of later eras when Portuguese or Spanish ships appeared in the coastal waters of the Green Continent?
Perhaps the events were as follows: several Christians (no matter whether they were Chinese, Portuguese or someone else) were forced to live for months for several months or years among the Kimberley natives. Maybe some of them had an icon with them, or some of the sailors painted images of saints on a rock.
The natives watched with interest the strange customs of the mysterious aliens. They saw that these people know and can do much morethan the Australians; they associated this success with the grace-filled help of unknown deities in their long robes and with haloes around their heads, which the aliens worshiped.
And when strangers left them - having gone or back to the sea, or simply to another world, the aborigines began to imitate their worship of these creatures, who gradually became part of their mythology and acquired new, purely Australian features, becoming vonjins - masters of life and everything real ...
All this, of course, is a hypothesis, and there is no reliable answer to this riddle, but it is obvious that the aborigines of northwestern Australia once had to face something so unusual that their mythology forever imprinted this event in the form of powerful and mysterious wonzin, whose images henceforth they became sacred to them.
And whoever the people who were the first to create these murals, one can surely say that they were not Australians.