This painting depicts the Gupapuyŋu clan Burala Diving Bird design that forms part of the Yirritja mortuary riŋgitj song cycle that is shared with many other clans from east to west Arnhem Land. This work shows the iconic Burala bird set against a background of Birrinymal Manburi (catfish bones), which are depicted by the fine white rarrk.
When a Gupapuyŋu person dies their leaders gather Manburi Birrinymal (Catfish bones), Lumbalumba Birrinymal (Emu Bones) and Yolŋu birrinymal (the deceased person’s bones). The Birrinymal are painted with Gupapuyŋu clan designs using white ochre and native honey. These Birrinymal are then crushed and put inside a maḏayin bathi (sacred dilly bag). This bathi is then worn by senior men while they dance ceremony. Throughout the ceremony the men remove Birrinymal from the bathi and place them inside the djaḻumbu.
All Bark artworks come strapped and ready to hang.