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Type: Journal article
Title: Extraordinary Back-to-Back Human and Animal Figures in the Art of Western Arnhem Land, Australia: One of the World's Largest Assemblages
Author: Taçon, P.S.C.
May, S.K.
Goldhahn, J.
Taylor, L.
Brady, L.M.
Ressel, A.
Jalandoni, A.
Wesley, D.
Maralngurra, G.
Citation: Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 2022; 32(4):707-720
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Issue Date: 2022
ISSN: 0959-7743
Statement of
Paul S.C. Taçon, Sally K. May, Joakim Goldhahn, Luke Taylor, Liam M. Brady, Alex Ressel, Andrea Jalandoni, Daryl Wesley, Gabriel Maralngurra
Abstract: Depictions of mythical beings appear in many different forms of art world-wide, including rock art of various ages. In this paper we explore a particular type of imagery, back-to-back figures, consisting of two human-like figures or animals of the same species next to each other and facing in opposite directions. Some human-like doubles were joined at the back rather than side-by-side, but also face opposite directions. In this paper, we report on new research on rock art, bark paintings and recent paintings on paper and chart a 9000-year history of making aesthetically, symbolically and spiritually powerful back-to-back figures in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia.
Description: Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 April 2022
Rights: © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DOI: 10.1017/s0959774322000129
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Appears in Collections:Humanities publications

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