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© Ken Garrawurra Munyipirriwuy/ Licensed by Viscopy, 2017

Dhupun or burial pole from the Liyagawumirr clan of Yirrkala

Date: 1990
Medium: Wood, ochres, pipe clay, charcoal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Ken Garrawurra Munyipirriwuy
Object Name: Pole
Object No: 00008550

User Terms

    A dhupun or burial pole made by Ken Munyipirriwuy Garrawurra of Yirrkala in the Northern Territory.
    Ken Munyipirriwuy Garrawurra was originally from Milingimbi and presently resides at Yirrkala where he works as a
    minister. His clan is Liyagawumirr and moiety is Dhuwa.
    The dhupun features a design of bonybu, mud welk and wirdu, catfish, which are important to the Liyagawumirr people.They employ a pattern evoking the natural ringed marks left on the mangrove trees by the rise and fall of the tides in their country’s marshy tidal flats, the related clan design depicts this alternating striped pattern using red, white, and yellow ochres, featured at both ends of the pole.
    SignificanceThe traditional Yolngu funeral ceremony involves several stages, the final including the storage of bones in a hollow log coffin painted with elaborate designs belonging to clans important to the deceased. This tradition can be seen seen in this work by Ken Munyipirriwuy Garrawurra who has used patterns and symbols specific to th eLiyagawumirr people.
    HistoryIn north eastern Arnhem land, the Burial pole,hollow log or bone coffin is an important ceremony. When a person dies,
    their body is washed, painted and sung over. Later the bones of the deceased are recovered (this could mean many years later) and the relatives give the bones to ceremonial leaders so they can arrange a hollow log ceremony.
    A log, hollowed out naturally by termites is found, cleaned and painted amidst singing and dancing in a special camp. The designs painted on it have particular meaning to the deceased. The bones, now painted red, a replaced in the log
    during special dances.The log is danced into the main public camp, stood upright and then left.
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