Monographic Course - The Songlines - Page two

In this section, I'm going to try to write an essay on "The Songlines" by Bruce Chatwin, 1988 Penguin Books.

"Music", said Arkady,"is a memory bank for finding one's way about the world".

  • Separation (from the known)
    The threshold for Bruce Chatwin could be the sight of a mummified Altai nomad at the Hermitage in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) in December 1965. The guardian in this occasion was Robert Erskine who introduced him to his mentor, his "guru", Stuart Piggott, Professor of Archaeology at Edinbourgh University. He embarked in academic studies in Archaerolgy, leaving behind the art auctions world, seeing himself as a kind of "Indiana Jones" with the quest to find out all about nomadism. He had many helpers, reportedly all the people he saw as mentors, and his talisman was his beloved and inseparable Moleskine notebook. He never let anybody define his persona, and almost always decided where to go, embarking in uncharted journeys as a protagonist till his death.

    For the Aboriginals, the guardians are invariably their parents, who not only raise them from childhood but most importantly teach them the songs. Their perception of the song could be considered their threshold, the path to the unknown illustrated to them for future reference. Their talisman is the Tjuringa, "an oval-ended plaque, carved from stone on mulga wood, and covered with patterns which represent the wanderings of it's owner's Dreamtime Ancestor."
    tjuringa...I apologyze if you think this image is disrespectful

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