Object 2: A boomerang from Australian indigenous tribe in the 1930s

May 27, 2021


The real world context of this object is its modern use and its contrasting traditional use. In modern terms a boomerang has multiple meanings, e.g. a toy that people play with friends; a person who has left her/his significant other and then returned; a device that comes back when thrown. Traditionally, though, boomerangs, as weapons, helped indigenous peoples hunt and clear the forest of branches and flora to form a path. This wooden boomerang is interesting from a ToK perspective as it exemplifies the technical abilities, and indirectly informs us on the values from supposed microcosmic groups. More specifically, it shows how indigenous peoples dedicated time to honouring this weapon.

This object contributes to this exhibition by signifying how an artifact blends two opposing values, so they go hand in hand in acquiring knowledge as a form of received wisdom across the ages. The fact that this weapon, is intricately carved with patterns, as well as a horse and cow appearing at the vertex, shows not only a value for beauty but also destruction. The contrasting notions are also interdependent; a concept which conveys spirituality (as opposed to dogma in Object 3) and honour that comes with hunting in this way.

Another link to how this object enriches this exhibition is through the fact that ancient indigenous tribes, as the knower, value knowledge acquisition physically but also intellectually.

It shows aboriginal peoples did not remain in a fixed position, but would rather move in accordance with what they deem the most valuable resources for life, so much so that they crafted an aerodynamically accordant weapon to accelerate the process. This shows us their value of scientific innovation from physics (also relevant to both Object 1 and 3), which was an understandably underdeveloped concept at the time. Therefore, from the examples given a balance between spiritual, artistic and practical values inform the way we, as the knower, acquire and interpret knowledge.

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