Manburi Birrinymal


41 x 15.5 cm / PAINTING – Ochre on Bark

In stock


The fine lines of this painting represent Manburi Birrinymal (catfish bones), interspersed by bands of dotting that similtaneously depict the spine of the manburi (catfish), Yirritja guku (native honey). This has further overlapping connotations with the eucalypt bush in which the guku is found, with the word ḏiltji (lit. bush/forest) also meaning backbone.   

Manburi birrinymal(catfish bones) is a potent Gupapuyŋu miny’tji (sacred clan design) that is shared with other Yirritja clans in an important riŋgitj (shared songline relationship). When a Gupapuyŋu person dies their leaders gather manburi birrinymal (catfish bones), lumbalumba birrinymal (emu bones) and Yolŋu birrinymal (human bones). The birrinymal are painted with Gupapuyŋu designs using gamunuŋgu (ochre) and guku (native honey). The birrinymal are then crushed and put inside a maḏayin bathi (sacred dilly bag). The maḏayin bathi is then worn by senior men while they dance buŋgul (ceremony). Throughout the buŋgul the men remove birrinymal from the bathi and place them inside the djaḻumbu (hollow log coffin) for the mortuary rights. 

The djaḻumbu stands on the ceremony ground and is also painted with Gupapuyŋu manburi, lumbalumba ga guku miny’tji (catfish, emu and honey designs). The manburi birrinymal miny’tji is never painted on the body. It is only painted on ŋaku, djaḻumbu ga burala (bark, hollow log coffin and ceremonial bullroarer). 

Our staff have attached aluminium strapping to the back of this artwork. It is ready to hang. 

Additional information

SKU: 284-212021 Category: Tag: