Tiwi Spears are a unique artefact to the Tiwi. Only two islands are known to produce the spears. These include Bathurst and Melville Islands. In the old days artists spent plenty of time making the spears. This was to ensure the each spear had spectacular detail. Showing off the artist’s skills and therefore promoting his social status. The artist would take spears to all ceremonies. Using them in Rome dances and adding emphasis to their presence.
There are different types of Spears. Including the male spear, Tunkalinta / Tunkaringa, with large barbs down one side only. The Arawinikiri, with long barbs down both edges of the spearhead. This type of spear represents the tail of the ancestral crocodile called Jerekepai. Who was the first who made the spear.
These spears are an intricate piece of work. Traditionally a cockle shell was used to carve the spear. The complete process takes up to three months to complete. Hunting spears were much less elaborate. Consisting of straight sticks sharpened to a point or barbs notched into sides of the tapering point. Ironwood is a very dense hardwood. This is the material used to make the spears. Tiwi spears have a very bold design. And all display geometric Tiwi designs.
There are many artefacts that are important to indigenous Australians. However it’s rare to have one soley produced by two islands. The Kypreos family is one of the main producers of the Tiwi Spears. For this reason all of the spears in the gallery are by this family.
We have many Tiwi Spears on offer, ranging in sizes and design. Please get in touch if you have any questions about the Tiwi Spears on our contact page. Alternatively you can see the other Aboriginal artefacts we have on offer on our artefact page here.