Summary

'That's his knife [pointing to blade]. Pelican been have this . . . that mouth he got now, that pelican [showing two blades, one on top of the other, he makes the shape of a Pelican's beak].' Abby Thomas Jungala, 1986.

According to Jingulu elder Abby Thomas Jungala the stone knives, or kiyirru, sourced from the Kankiritja quarry (near Elliot in Central Australia) were first introduced to the region by a gathering of Wallambee (Pelicans). The type of kiyirru made by people in this part of Australia is quite distinctive as the blade is typically attached to a decorated flat wooden handle. The handle of this knife has been coated in red ochre and painted with black bands and white-ochre dots.

These knives were generally used for practical purposes, such as for carving into wooden objects and cutting meat, were obviously enjoyed for their aesthetic pleasure and were traded across vast areas in a trading network known as Winnun.

Physical Description

Knife made of quartzite with resin handle, hafted with resin and ornamented in sheath.

Local Name

Kiyirru or Wanyu

More Information