Manburi birrinymal (catfish bones) (#MILJD280114)
Ochre on canvas, 72.5 x 50 cm, 2014
The fine lines of this painting represent Manburi Birrinymal (catfish bones).The central band of dotting is Yirritja guku (native honey).
Manburi Birrinymal (catfish bones) is part of the Gupapuyŋu riŋgitj (songline). 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).
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 Djaḻumbu (hollow log coffin) and Burala (ceremonial bullroarer).
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