An English auction house will today sell off a rare Aboriginal Tjuringa stone, a totem so sacred to indigenous culture than Australian museums refuse to even exhibit them out of respect for indigenous mores.

The sale of the etched oval stone, listed as Lot 825 by the Canterbury Auction Galleries, has outraged Australian museum authorities, who say the piece should not be seen by anyone other than initiated male elders, let alone a foreign white woman who was apparently given it as a birthday present while briefly in Sydney.

The artefacts are regarded to be physical manifestations of sacred ancestral beings and have great spiritual power.

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