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Narritjin Maymuru

Djarrakpi - 1969

natural earth pigments on Eucalyptus bark
130.0 x 61.0 cm
Price Realised: $6,710.00

MP #402


Painted in North East Arnhem Land, NT
Private Collection, Qld
Sotheby's Aboriginal Art, Nov 2009, Lot 102
Private Collection, Vic

Artwork 130 x 61 cm : Frame 145 x 80 cm

Narritjin was a great ceremonial leader in North East Arnhem Land.


The painting represents the site of Djarrakpi and its lake on the eastern coast of Arnhem Land, north of Blue Mud Bay, and one of the Manggalili clan's major ancestral sites. The main feature of the painting is a sacred object which refers to the sacred Marawili tree (either a Casuarina or a Cashew). The body of the object is painted with a version of the Manggalili clan design representing the waters of the lake in different conditions of wind and light.

Djarrakpi was created by Guwak the Koel Cuckoo at the end of his journey across the land, together with a number of other ancestors, including Marrngu the Possum. The Possum spun his fur to create the sand dunes at Djarrakpi. The human figures represent the female ancestors related to Djarrakpi - the Wurrathithi (Wuradidi) who travel to that site and inhabit the seaward side, or the Nyapililngu who were at Djarrakpi when Guwak arrived. The women are distinguished by the possum fur string breast girdles they wear. The digging sticks in the lower section of the painting are analogous to the female ancestors.