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Aboriginal men imitating dogs, Australia, 1798.

Neagle, J

Aboriginal men imitating dogs, Australia, 1798.
3 2 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 24cm


Engraving by Neagle of a group of men and boys taking part in an initiation ritual. The wooden swords stuck in their girdles represent the curled tail of a dingo. 'By this ceremony, power over the dog was given to them, and it endowed them with whatever good or beneficial qualities that animal might poses'. From 'An account of the English colony in New South Wales: with remarks on the dispositions, customs, manners, &c, of the native inhabitants of that country' by David Collins (1756-1810), published in London, 1798-1802. Collins was Judge Advocate and Governor's Secretary under Arthur Phillip at the British colony at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, Australia, 1787-1796, and colonial governor of Tasmania, 1804-1810.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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