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Title: 'Sacred ceremonial ground Gununguwuy'
Explanation (the original is difficult to read in places)
Artist is cerem. leader of May. tribe ? one if not [word/s omitted?] imp. painters in A.L. In centre of paintg is shown sacred ceremony. gnds. called GUNUNGUWUY, W/in ground is smaller dance ground of [sare] shape. [Kingfish], the [most] imp. Totem of MANG. tribe are shown in these [grounds] are part of cerem. by [word] revolves around the Kingship [?sic] totem & its guardian a spirit hero called NGULUMUN who is headman for Mang. tribe. He was given this [word] by BANAITCHA the most imp. of 4 early spirit heroes. In the D/time, Ngoykal, the Kingfish grew weak [word] in 1 area & eating the all food, so he decided to leave the river where he was [word] & go back to the sea. Then he vomited up the Yoku nuts & leaves he had been eating in the river. He went back up the river, spitting out Yoku nuts to left & right. The Yoku nuts now grow in this area. And [word] part of the [cerenoy] centres on deeds of guardian spirit of [wom] & children while they are out hunting in the bush. Her name is NYAPILILNU. She came to Blue Mud Bay with another woman as companion & began to wander thr. the bush, showing women & children how to survive by digging up yams & hunting small game. It began to rain heavily & Nyapililnu took up her dig. stk. which was pointed at both ends, & began to slit the p/bark sheets from nearby trees. Then she & her companion WURDILAPU pulled the sheets from the trees & sheltered from the rain. They found the paperbark completely waterproof. Later NYAPILILNU taught women & children how to make food & water containers by bending p/b. into curved shapes & tying each end with bush string. This string was made by NYAPILILNU from stringy bark tree, the fibres being rubbed together on thigh until they formed string. NYAP. decreed that this bush string crossed over in a diag. pattn. on f. & b. of body should be trad. dec. for mourning dance ceremonies. At each end of paint are shown storm clouds. ? rep. by NARRITJIN as a rect. shape with diag. des. [word] to des. [word] by NYAP. surrounded by anvil shapes sim. to containers she designed.
In this paintg the women are shown with trad. [word] pattn. on their bodies & men shown with painted bodies. In top R. hand corner 2 men simulate acts of NYAP & WURD. pulling p/b from trees & in bottom L.H. corner they simulate acts of 2 [women] holding sheets above their head, shelt. from rain. Women do not [take] [leadg] parts in these [word] but have their own section of song & dance during the performances. The pointed dig. stick of NYAP is shown in centre top part of dance ground & centre of bottom is a spec. spear of sacred sign.f. used in the ceremony. Is [?In look] a fighting & fishing sp. & is called YANTAPU (handwritten card attached to Aboriginal Arts Board Collection card for 1991.0024.3730).
A bark painting worked with ochres on bark. It depicts a large diamond shape in the centre of which are two fish. On either side of the this shape there are four groups of black dancing human figures. Two of the corners contain depictions of dishes and the other two, figures and trees. The painting has a background of crosshatched panels. There is a yellow band at either end.
W 670mm x H 1290mm x D 70mm
Makers mark is illegible. Artist's details except place verified by D Kaus 23/10/2012
Djarrtel [?] near Blue Mud Bay