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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer


Ground yellow ochre from Mindilu or Three Ways on Melville Island


Ground yellow ochre from Mindilu or Three Ways on Melville Island

Object information

Physical description

Yellow ochre in various states in between rock and ground.

Statement of significance

The collection consists of one painted and decorated carving of the head of Purukaparli, two pamajini, or body ornaments, three dotting combs, five paint brushes and nine items of ochres. These objects were acquired during the inaugural Tracking Kultja: the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Festival, 2001.

The carving represents the continuing traditions in the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, depicting the ancestral being Purukapali who 'decreed that death should come to the whole world' (Tiwi Art Network, 'Tiwi Art, Some Interpretations.') and is related, as are the pamajini, to the significant pukamani ceremony and state of mourning. The objects in the collection were marketed through the new collaborative Tiwi Art Network, which was set up to present a united face for marketing the artworks of Bathurst and Melville Islands and promoting tourism to the islands and as part of the wider movement towards cultural maintenance and economic self-determination.

Object information

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