The constellations as well as the sun and the moon feature highly as divine forces in most traditional Buddhist and Pacific indigenous art. This symbolic representation is consistent for most early and ancient civilisations, with the worship and documentation of the stars being linked to the worship of their gods and deities. Early Māori were exceptional astronomers, with their new year marked by the appearance of the Matariki star cluster, also known as the Pleiades. An Australian Aboriginal researcher referred to the Pleiades star cluster as follows: “Revered and worshipped by many diverse peoples, cultures, and civilisations, this small cluster of stars has had an enormous influence on the human psyche and on our collective unconscious.” (Munya, 2004). The Māori astronomical knowledge is referred to as tātai arorangi. Māori, Aboriginal, and Polynesian peoples used the stars to calculate the seasons and time, as did many of their Asian counterparts (Waikato, 2016). Parallels in the cosmological symbology in Māori, Aboriginal, Polynesian and Buddhist mandala art is an area I am investigating. Potentially new aesthetic knowledge could be developed by drawing upon these correlations and hereby linking my practice with the context of the Pacific and its indigenous traditions without utilising or appropriating their symbols.
The Pleiades Fascinates me!
How is it that 500 Aboriginal tribes in Australia, all speaking different dialects, with different folk-lore stories, all share the story of the Seven Sisters?
In this interesting article published last December in the academic website The Conversation, this exact question is raised:
The world’s oldest story? Astronomers say global myths about ‘seven sisters’ stars may reach back 100,000 years