12 / 2009

Australia - Aranda tribe - Executioner's shoes - 'Karara' - mid 20th C

Karara shoes were used in the Central Desert of the Northen Territory in Australia by medicine men in secret revenge rituals, known as 'Kurdaitcha' to avenge a tirbesman's murder. They resembled the shape of bird's nests, but were carefully constructed in cord netting from a combination of brownish-grey feathers of the giant emu bird, camel- or kangaroo- and human hair and then red ochred. Before a man could wear his karara, drops of his own blood dripping from a cut in his arm are smeared on the shoes. The round shape and the use of feathers covered up the footprints of the Kurdaitcha raiding party. The condemned man could not hear them coming and could not see were they went.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland