An original vintage sepia-toned gelatin silver photograph (image size 300 × 248 mm), on the original thick card mount (442 × 354 mm), with the caption, in duplicate typescript on paper, mounted on the bottom margin.
The mount is lightly foxed, with a few pinholes close to the top and bottom edges; there is a tiny surface chip to a bottom corner tip of the photograph, and minimal silvering-out; overall, in excellent condition.
The verso of the mount contains a slightly different caption in Mountford's hand: 'A stone supposed to be the head of a poisonous Snake. Rubbing the stone causes sickness to one's Enemys [sic]. Ayers Rock'. The amendments appearing in the typed version are also pencilled in here. There are two small cloth tabs affixed near the top edge on the verso, suitable for hanging the item; a number in another hand ('1' in a circle, written in indelible pencil) suggests this print was exhibited at some stage. Mountford made four expeditions to Ayers Rock (Uluru) between 1935 and 1960; the negative for this print comes from the 1940 journey. A very similar image appears in Mountford's book, 'Ayers Rock. Its People, Their Beliefs and Their Art', published in 1965. The caption to that image (see plate 70A, page 111) reads: 'The spirit dingo, Kulpunya: A, Stone, body of bell-bird, Panpanpanala'. Mountford explains in his introduction to the book the reasons behind such discrepancies (see page xiv). During the course of his first three expeditions to the region, he 'did not feel that the material gathered ... was sufficiently detailed or accurate for publication.... my informants were not Ayers Rock men and, therefore, did not know the myths in detail, or they were men who, though belonging to the country, were too young when they left Ayers Rock to have gained a full knowledge of the myths ... In 1960 another attempt was made ... there were few Ayers Rock men then living, and only one of them, Balinga ... was particularly well versed in the stories explaining the mythical origins of the topographical features of Ayers Rock. For this reason, his statements have been used whenever they differed from those of earlier informants'.