We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Murayana (spirit) looking for guku (honey)

circa 1950s


Jimmy Lipundja


1912 – 1968

Language group: Gupapuyngu, Arnhem region

Artist profile

  • Details

    Other Title
    Carved figure
    Place where the work was made
    Milingimbi Central Arnhem Land Northern Territory Australia
    circa 1950s
    Media category
    Materials used
    natural pigments on wood
    50.5 x 10.6 x 3.8 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased 1962
    Naala Nura, ground level, 20th-century galleries
    Accession number
    © Estate of Jimmy Lipundja/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Jimmy Lipundja

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    This diminutive sculpture in flattened form is expertly carved from a single piece of timber. Its elongated arms, straightened torso and graphic facial features provide an image of stylised refinement. The controlled symmetry of the work is broken only by slight aberrations – one ear higher than the other, one arm longer and one hand featuring a stroke to give the indication of thumb and fingers.

    In looking for honey this figure is swatting bees and placing the design on his chest; the design shows both the sting and swat marks. The positioning of this design on the chest and thighs of the figure echoes the positioning used when it is painted on the body as a central feature of the age-grading Birrkulda ceremony.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

Other works by Jimmy Lipundja

See all 10 works