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National Museum of Australia

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Wood carving of a figure painted black and yellow by Mawalan

2013.0044.0004

Wood carving of a figure painted black and yellow by Mawalan

Object information

Description

Carving by Mawalan, subject is 'Djungguwal, the Tribal Hero. Collected by Dorothy Bennett around 1978 and purchased from Aboriginal Arts and Crafts

Physical description

A single piece of wood carved to create a human figure with black pigment on the head, ankles and base, and yellow and brown pigment on the body and legs. The upper torso has a diamond pattern on the front and back, some of which is filled with incised cross hatching. The lower torso has vertical eclipses with a background of incised cross hatching. The nose and mouth are in relief while the eyes are carved into the wood. The base is an upturned dome shape. There are several vertical cracks in the sculpture.

Statement of significance

This collection comprises a range of material associated with Betty Meehan and Rhys Jones, two prominent figures whose work in the archaeological, anthropological, museum and heritage sectors has significantly influenced public understanding of Australian Indigenous culture and society. The collection contains Australian Indigenous material, including bark paintings, fibre work, tools and implements, and a small selection of comparative objects, collected by Meehan and Jones, from non-Australian hunter-gather societies. The collection also includes a series of historical prints documenting early European representations of Aboriginal people and their culture.

The collection is an eclectic mix, and reflects Meehan and Jones' detailed and personal knowledge of the day to day lives of many Indigenous people. It is also significant as a window into the working lives of the donors, who played key roles in the development of Australian archaeology as an independent discipline and the broader scholarly community.

Object information

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