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Psychology of the Initiate

Nature volume 145, page 63 (13 January 1940) | Download Citation



An interesting sidelight is thrown on certain changes in mentality taking place after initiation by an examination of two series of drawings made by an Australian aboriginal boy, which have been recorded and reproduced by C. P. Mountford, acting ethnologist of the South Australian Museum (Records S. Austral. Mus., 6, 2; 1939). The subject was one of two interpreters accompanying an anthropological expedition of the University of Adelaide to the War-burton Ranges of Western Australia in 1935. At the time of his engagement it was understood that he was a full initiate; but when an investigation of aboriginal art was being made, it was noted that when drawings of a secret character were being made by tribesmen, they were carefully concealed on his approach. His own drawings in the first series invariably represented objects of, or known to, European civilization.

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