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Gunybi Ganambarr

Dhanbarr - Larrakitj - c.2009

natural earth pigments on wood
Height:253 x 0.0 cm
Price Realised: $4,392.00

MP #376


Buku Larrngay Mulka, NT Cat No. 2749V
Annandale Gallery, NSW
Private Collection, NSW


accompanied by a Buku Larrngay Mulka certificate of authenticity


Annandale Gallery, NSW

This sculpture is a novel and unique manifestation of a Larakitj - a ritual sculpture used as a bone container and erected as a memorial to a dead kinsman. Where formerly the bones of the deceased were deposited in hollow logs such as this, today they are used as the equivalent of headstones and may contain the personal effects of a deceased person. A further role for this cultural form is as a fine art object and an instructional tool for younger generations.


Though it was not unusual in the past for ridges to be cut into the cylindrical form as bands at the top and bottom, the relief carving on this pole was unique in the history of Arnhem Land sculptural practice at the time this piece was created.

The miny'tji, or sacred clan designs that adorn this work, belong to the artist's moter's clan, the Dhalwangu, and indicate the place it was made (Gangan), which is the origin of the Yirritja moiety. The diamond patterning represents the sacred freshwater contaminated by silt stirred from the bottom of sacred waterholes. (a more detailed explanation of the significance of the clan designs and the figurative elements in this work is provided in the accompanying documentation)