Wana (Women's Digging Stick)
Wana (Women's Digging Stick)

Unknown Artist

Wana (Women's Digging Stick)

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"Iriti tjana kanyiningi wana, punuku wanarina. Tjana tjawalpai: tjala - honey ants; maku - witchetty grubs; tinka - goanna; ngampu - goanna eggs.  Minyma tjutangku tjawalpai. Wana nyangatja.'

In the past they had digging sticks made of mulga wood. They were always digging; honey ants; witchetti grubs; goanna; eggs.  It's the women who always do the work. This is a digging stick. 

- Kunmanara Captain, senior Pitjantjatjara woman. 

The wana is carved from a straight mulga sapling (Acacia aneura) then tapered and fire hardened at one end. It is used also in digging edible roots and locating root timber for carving. After the sharp point of the wana has loosened the soil, a wira or small bowl is used to scoop the earth away from the hole. Today it is often an iron crow bar which performs the traditional function of the wana in digging for food delicacies like honey ants and witchetty grubs. 


Artist: Unknown
Language group: Pitjantjatjarra, Ngaanyatjarra, Yankunytjatjara 
Location: Central Western Desert, Australia 
Medium: 'wanari' - Desert Mulga, Acacia aneura
Dimensions (mm): 990 x 32 x 35
Weight: 1.1kg

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