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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Lany'tjung story no 3



Munggurrawuy Yunupingu


circa 1907 - 12 Apr 1979

Language group

Gumatj, Arnhem region


top right: Lowtide, to the south of Caledon Bay near, a hill where the sacred yellow ochre is found. The areas of yellow pigment depict sand and the cross-hatching in between shows patches of water. The bands of cross-hatching at either end of this panel represent sandbars.

upper right: Baru, the ancestral crocodile, at Caledon Bay is shown crawling over seaweed (the food of dugong and green turtle). The tide is in and Baru is under water.

lower right: Baru is in its special hole in the sea. The crocodile's head and tail rest on sand bars whilst the body floats over the hole.

bottom right: Depicts a large jungle of paperbarks and other trees used in sacred ceremonies between Caledon Bay and Trial Bay. The little white dots are embers left after a fire.

bottom left: The small red circles represent two fires made for a ceremony. After the ceremony other fires are lit and the flames run wild and cover the sacred site. The lower section represents fire inside the sacred 'shade' where sacred objects are kept, two of which are shown as well as two bones from a man who was burnt.

lower and upper left: The fire travels through the rest of the picture. The four sections in this panel are covered in cross-hatching representing bushland. As a boy Munggurrawuy was in this locality and lost a pair of scissors in the grass. The incident has now been incorporated in this representation of the sacred ancestral stories.

top left: A group of Gumatj people were camping and were caught by the fire. The three figures represent the group and their bones are also shown lying in the fire. Two women discovered the bones and told their story to other hunters who came and saw the catastrophe.

The background cross-hatching represents such aspects of the environment as sandbars, seaweed, hot ashes, bushland, grass, etc.

© Information provided by the artist

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000


Other Titles

Laindjung myth no 3

Lany'tjung myth no 3



Media category

Bark painting

Materials used

natural pigments on bark


194.0 x 51.5 cm (irreg.)

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of Dr Stuart Scougall 1959

Accession number


Artist information

Munggurrawuy Yunupingu

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history