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Aboriginal man holding a Ngintaka lizard
Title : Aboriginal man holding a Ngintaka lizard Aboriginal man holding a Ngintaka lizard
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Creator : Mountford, Charles P. (Charles Pearcy), 1890-1976
Source : PRG 1218/34/1060C
Place Of Creation : Central Australia
Date of creation : 1940
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

A Pitjantjatjara man, possibly Tjuntaga, holding a Ngintaka lizard in front of Ayers Rock (Uluru).

Mountford took this photograph on the University of Adelaide expedition to Central Australia in 1940, accompanied by his wife, Bessie Mountford, and 18 year old Lauri Sheard, the son of his friend Harold Sheard.

This is an excellent example of the striking photographic composition for which Mountford is much acclaimed. It is also indicative of Mountford's scientific drive to represent the ways and activities of the Aboriginal people he met and to demonstrate his own skills of observation as an ethnographer.

The Ngintaka, or Perentie, monitor lizard is Australia's largest lizard, growing up to 2 metres in length. In Pitjantjatjara culture the Ngintaka is a totemic creature associated with the Ngintaka creator ancestor, the story of which is represented in ceremonial dance, or Inma. The lizard is also hunted as a food source.

Image reproduced courtesy of the Pitjantjatjara Council Inc.

Coverage year : 1940
Period : 1939-1945
Place : Ayers Rock (Uluru)
Region : Northern Territory
Further reading :

James, Diana. Painting the song : Kaltjiti artists of the sand dune country, Fitzroy, Vic. : McCulloch & McCulloch Australian Art Books, 2009

Lamshed, Max. 'Monty' : the biography of C.P. Mountford, [Adelaide] : Rigby, 1972

Mountford, Charles, P. Brown men and red sand : journeyings in wild Australia, London ; Sydney : Angus & Robertson, 1981, c1948, Chapter 10, The Legend of Nintaka, The Lizard.

Sheard, Lauri. An Australian youth among desert Aborigines : journal of an expedition among the Aborigines of central Australia, with an introd. by Charles P. Mountford, Adelaide : Libraries Board of South Australia, 1964



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