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Title: A rare 'Wanjina' cloud?
Contributor(s): Lewis, Darrell  (author)
Publication Date: 2016
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The connection between clouds and Wanjinas has long been known to anthropologists and rock art researchers. Kim Akerman’s (2016) comprehensive account of Wanjina research draws together the numerous references to this topic, including W. Arndt’s 1964 paper in which he drew attention to the similarity of form between Wanjina figures and the shape of cumulo-nimbus clouds. However, there is another type of cloud that must have been seen on occasion by Kimberley Aborigines, and which undoubtedly would have been regarded by them as manifestations of Wanjina beings. This is the type known as a ‘horseshoe-vortex cloud’, a very rare cloud formation originating from within regions of rotating air caused by a swift updraft coming in contact with horizontal winds. When this happens a horizontal vortex is formed, sometimes leading to a short-lived horseshoeshaped cloud or clouds, as seen here. In July 2015, half an hour after visiting a gallery of Wanjina figures, I was fortunate to see and photograph two horseshoe vortex clouds in the sky above the central Kimberley. They lasted only a minute or two from the time they were first noticed and their resemblance to the classic Wanjina face is unmistakable and remarkable.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Rock Art Research, 33(2), p. 232-233
Publisher: Australian Rock Art Research Association, Inc
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 0813-0426
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 4303 Historical studies
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C4 Letter of Note
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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