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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Lany'tjung story no. 1



Munggurrawuy Yunupingu


circa 1907 - 12 Apr 1979

Language group

Gumatj, Arnhem region

Bununggu Yunupingu


circa 1917 - 1974

Language group

Gumatj, Arnhem region


top: A Yirritja Ngärra ceremony was held near Caledon Bay. Three brothers and their two sisters were dancing when they called out the sacred name for fire. A fire, already burning, grew. One of the sisters tried to stop the fire but it spread. A vertical diamond pattern depicting wood divides the panel into two parts. The Yirritja diamond-patterned cross-hatching on the left represents the fire - black being ashes and red the glow of the fire. Dots in the horizontal bands at the top represent sparks while those in the lower bands represent flames. On the right are depicted the bones and ashes of the people burnt. One of the sisters is shown in a sacred shade surrounded by smoke.

upper: The diamond pattern between the fire and the bandicoot is Munggurrawuy's Dreaming.

lower: The ancestral Bandicoot is seen surrounded by grass and entering a hollow log to save itself from the fire. The dots are the bandicoot's footprints.

bottom: The division between these panels represents the bank of a billabong and the watermark. Baru the crocodile is depicted in a billabong, the area of cross-hatching surrounding the crocodile is its nest, and the remaining cross-hatching represents räkay (eleocharis dulci), a highly nutritious species of lily. Dots represent bubbles from the crocodile as it dives under water.

© Information provided by the artist

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000


Other Title

Lany'tjung story, myth no 1 Laindjung stroy, myth no 1



Media category

Bark painting

Materials used

natural pigments on bark


153.7 x 38.1 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1959


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Munggurrawuy Yunupingu

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Artist information

Bununggu Yunupingu

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 3 publications


Peter Gotting, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'To great and absent friends', pg. 14, Sydney, 01 Aug 2000, 14 (illus.). see Curator's worksheet for copy

Frederick D. McCarthy, Australian Aboriginal art: bark paintings, carved figures, sacred and secular objects: an exhibition arranged by the State art galleries of Australia, 1960-1961, 'Introduction', pg. 7-17, Sydney, 1960, 28. 72

Howard Morphy, One sun one moon: Aboriginal art in Australia, ‘Making the familiar unfamiliar: The aesthetics of Eastern Arnhem Land art’, pg. 73-77, Sydney, 2007, 77 (colour illus.).