The Spirit Man - Banumbirr

BURRNDAY: artist

Not On Display

About the work

Various accounts of Banumbirr, the Morning Star, exist across Arnhem Land. The Morning Star is kept in a dillybag by Banambu, a spirit who is sometimes a man and sometimes a woman; or it is kept by two women who release it just before dawn. Others believe that in the evening the Morning Star is let out on a long string. All night it crosses the heavens and in the morning as dawn begins to light the sky, the Morning Star is pulled back to the dillybag by the long string. As Banambu pulls back the string, the star guides to the Island of the Dead any deceased persons to their eternal resting place. The Banumbirr ceremony forms part of the final mortuary ceremony.
The Spirit Man - Banumbirr
Artist/Maker and role
BURRNDAY: artist
ochres on bark
79 x 55 cm
Credit line
Gift of the Parmelia Hotel, 1970
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

View all works by BURRNDAY (Australian, b.1914)

This is one of the bark paintings in our collection.


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