This miny’tji (design) belongs to the Gupapuyŋu clan of the Yirritja moiety. Each component of this miny’tji represents elements of Gupapuyŋu law and ceremony. Different elements of the miny’tji are painted onto the bodies of Gupapuyŋu men throughout Ŋärra (cleansing ceremony) and Dhapi (initiation ceremony).
The sharp triangular shapes at the centre top of this design are Guyuwa – Guyuwa is the ‘nose’ of the Galanyin (bee hive) that protrudes from the hive and can be seen on the outside of the tree which hosts it. Galanyin also refers to the diamond shaped honeycomb body paint design that is commonly seen during ceremonies and on Gupapuyŋu art works. The rarrk (cross-hatching) on either side of the central motif represents flowing guku (honey), while the solid shaded block at the base of the work is the dhuḏi dharpa (tree stump), symbolic of the importance of foundational knowledge held by Gupapuyŋu people. Wäyuk (literally, “arms” – ceremonial feather strings) adorn each side of the central motif and represent those that hang from the djaḻi (armbands) of Gupapuyŋu people during Ŋärra ceremony.
At the beginning of the Ŋärra, men’s bodies are painted with waṉ’kurra (bandicoot) miny’tji (designs). The men are not allowed to leave or be seen by the uninitiated when they wear waṉ’kurra. This miny’tji mimics the scratch marks of bandicoots found on trees – like those in the top and bottom corners of this etching.