An image of Murayana (spirit) looking for guku (honey)

Jimmy Lipundja

(Australia 1912 – 1968)

Milingimbi, Arnhem region
Language group
Gupapuyngu, Arnhem region

Murayana (spirit) looking for guku (honey)

Other titles:
Carved figure
Not on display
Further information

This diminutive sculpture in flattened form is expertly carved from a single piece of timber. Its elongated arms, straightened torso and graphic facial features provide an image of stylised refinement. The controlled symmetry of the work is broken only by slight aberrations – one ear higher than the other, one arm longer and one hand featuring a stroke to give the indication of thumb and fingers.

In looking for honey this figure is swatting bees and placing the design on his chest; the design shows both the sting and swat marks. The positioning of this design on the chest and thighs of the figure echoes the positioning used when it is painted on the body as a central feature of the age-grading Birrkulda ceremony.

Place of origin
Milingimbi, Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
circa 1950s
natural pigments on wood
50.5 x 10.6 x 3.8 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased 1962
Accession number
© Lipundja. Licensed by Copyright Agency