Nanyin Maymuru

(Australia circa 1914 – 1969)

Yirrkala, Arnhem region
Language group
Manggalili, Arnhem region

Sacred dance ground of the Mungalili (Manggalilji) group

Not on display
Further information

Artist/origin: Mungalili (Manggalilji) group, Brailung (Burilung?) clan, jiridja moiety, mainland near Groote Eylandt, Yirrkala, Arnhem Land

Six men came across the sea in two canoes, catching a great number of fish. On arriving at land they cooked and ate the fish and then declared the area should be a sacred dance ground of the group. Two huts on either side were made to house men to guard the sacred place. Four scrub turkeys and four cormorants, types of birds which often visit the site, are shown. In the lower section is a ceremony taking place.

The painting also tells the story of Bamapana, the legendary trickster hero who commited asocial acts. In this case, he has killed a girl, his gurrong, and hung her up in a tree (shown lower right).

Place of origin
North-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
circa 1960
Bark painting
natural pigments on bark
130.3 x 53.3 cm
Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1960
Accession number
© Estate of Nanyin Maymuru