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Title

Tunga

Unknown

Artist

Maryanne Mungatopi

Australia

1966 – 2003

Language group: Tiwi, North region

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Melville Island Northern Territory Australia
    Date
    Unknown
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    natural pigments on eucalyptus bark
    Dimensions
    78.5 x 58.5 x 39.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Gift of Helen Read 2004
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    141.2004
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Maryanne Mungatopi

    Works in the collection

    1

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  • About

    Tunga's are made from stringybark bark, which can only be collected during the wet season when the bark is moist and flexible. The bark is cut using a chainsaw, stripped smooth with a knife and cured over a fire before being bent into shape and sewn up with a bush string stripped from the native hibiscus. The tunga is left to dry for a few days before being painted with locally gathered ochres. Tungas were an everyday necessity for Tiwi, used to carry food. When a Tiwi person dies the tunga is placed upturned on the pukumani pole (grave-post) signifying the end of life. The tunga is decorated with designs associated with Tiwi ceremonial body designs.

    © Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Melville Island