- Museum number
- Object: Garramatji and Burrak - Ancestral dugong hunters
Bark painting of ancestral dugong hunters, featuring four dugong and two hunters (Garramatji and Burrak) in a canoe. Painted in black, white, red-ochre and yellow-ochre paints on a roughly rectangular piece of bark, with two wooden split stick supports framing the short edges, lashed with string.
- Production date
- 20thC (before 1986)
Length: 118.50 centimetres
Width: 45.50 centimetres (bark)
Width: 53.50 centimetres (frame)
- Curator's comments
- Beige card label attached to frame reads: 'Description: BURRAIC GA GURRAMATJI. Two ancestral dugong hunters hunted Dugong at YATHIKPA, and important site to MADARRPA people. Artist: Gumbaniya Marawili.' Clan and Moiety listed, as below. 'Homeland Centre: Baniyala. Cat. No. 3717.'
Page pasted to reverse reads:
'Language: Madarrpa/ Clan: Yithuwa/ Moiety: Yirritja
This story belongs to Madarrpa people and comes from Yathikpa, an important sacred site for Madarrpa people.
When Baru had made fire for the first time, he threw some of it out to sea. It landed at the sacred rock Dhakalmayi, Djunungguyangu, dugong, as is the sacred rock. The fire is still in the sea at that sacred rock, and today people don't go near the rock because the 'boiling water' would kill them. In paintings of this dreaming, barramundi and other fish, and the seaweed on which Djunungguyangu feeds are often represented with the sacred rock.
Garramatji and Burrak
In Wongar times, the dreaming, two men called Garramatji and Burrak were living on the beach at Yathikpa. They decided to go into the bush to get bark to make a bush string harpoon line, Balwurr, and a sapling to make a harpoon, Gundarrpa. When they came back, they sat under the sacred tree, Madirriny to make the rope and the harpoon.
After they'd finished making the harpoon and the line, they saw Djunungguyangu, dugong, and chased it in their canoe. They speared the Djunungguyangu, but it swam along to Dhakalmai, the sacred rock which is dreaming place for the dugong. The fire first made by Baru is still burning at that rock where Baru threw it. Djunungguyangu dived down under the water into that burning fire.
Garramitji and Burrak couldn't catch Djunungguyangu so they returned to the shore where their canoe, Bara Bara, later turned into a rock.
Since that time, Madarrpa people have made harpoons and bush string lines i this way. The harpoon became a sacred emblem to Madarrpa people, represented in sacred ceremony and art.
This painting shows Burrak and Garramitji hunting Djunungguyangu at the sacred rock (the oval shape). Between the two dugong at the top is Gamata, seaweed, which is food Djunungguyangu. Gamata moves in the water like tongues of flame. The background design is the sacred design for Madarrpa people, which is the fire dreaming design.'.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number