Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) THE MYTH OF LUMA LUMA
Lot 17
Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) The Myth of Luma Luma
Sold for AU$ 60,000 (US$ 54,179) inc. premium

Lot Details
Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) THE MYTH OF LUMA LUMA Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) THE MYTH OF LUMA LUMA Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) THE MYTH OF LUMA LUMA Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) THE MYTH OF LUMA LUMA Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) THE MYTH OF LUMA LUMA Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) THE MYTH OF LUMA LUMA Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) THE MYTH OF LUMA LUMA Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) THE MYTH OF LUMA LUMA Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992) THE MYTH OF LUMA LUMA
Bobby Barrdjaray Ngainjmirra (circa 1915-1992)
The Myth of Luma Luma 1. Luma Luma, with spear and dilly bag, sets out on his journey
2. Luma Luma hunting, accompanied by Ngalyod, the rainbow serpent
3. Luma Luma delivers the lae to the Gunwinggu
4. Luma Luma performs the sacred "Mareiin" dances
5. Luma Luma instills fear into the people
6. Luma Luma reveals the sacred "Rangga" from the feathered dilly bag
7. A terrified woman flees from Luma Luma
8. Ceremony for a woman killed by Luma Luma whilst trying to escape
9. The spearing of Luma Luma by the tribes-men
10. Luma Luma shows the Gunwinggu the sacred designs before his death
all bear catalogue numbers on the reverse; 2, 5-10 bear labels with a description of the story depicted on the reverse
natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark
96.5 x 43cm (38 x 16 15/16in).; 82.5 x 48cm (32 1/2 x 18 7/8in).; 90.5 x 43cm (35 5/8 x 16 5/16in).; 99 x 39.5cm (39 x 15 9/16in).; 72.5 x 35cm (28 9/16 x 13 3/4in).; 88.5 X 44cm (34 13/16 x 17 5/6in).; 115.5 x 41cm (45 1/2 x 17 5/16in).; 96.5 x 40.5cm (38 x 15 15/16in).; 113 x 63cm (44 1/2 x 24 13/16in).; 76 x 46.5cm (29 15/16 x 18 5/16in). (38

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Painted at Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) in the early 1970s
    Aboriginal Art Pty Ltd, Harrington St, The Rocks, Sydney
    Private collection, Tokyo

    Cf. In the early 1970s the renowned painter and Kuninjku ritual leader Yirawala (c.1895-1976) painted a series of seven barks depicting the story of Luma Luma. These were collected by Sandra Le Brun Holmes and are now in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. See Sandra Le Brun Holmes, Yirawala: Painter of the Dreaming, Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1994, pls.1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. The National Collection also contains a series of eleven erotic bark paintings, The story of Nimbuwah Rock, by Bobby Ngainjmirra from 1958.

    Bobby Barrdjarray Ngainjmirra was the leading member of the Ngainjmirra artistic dynasty of western Arnhem Land that included his brothers Jimmy Nakkuridjdjilmi Ngainjmirra (c.1917-1982) and Peter Ngainjmirra (1927-1987), and his nephew Robin Ngainjmirra (1951-1991). Bobby's senior ritual position and his depth of knowledge of Kunwinjku culture attracted the interest of a number of prominent anthropologists, collectors and researchers. His status gave him the rights to paint the major ancestral narratives of the Kunwinjku.

    The chronicle of the giant Luma Luma is one of the apical creation dramas of Kunwinjku and Kuninjku peoples of western Arnhem Land for it relates to the coming of sacred power, Mardayin, and the establishment of ritual practices and initiations, such as the Kunapipi, Wubarr, and eventually the Lorrkon burial ceremonies. Luma Luma also introduced the ritual paraphernalia and the sacred clan patterns that are painted onto these objects and onto the torsos of the ceremonial participants, as well as onto sheets of bark today.

    There exist a number of local variations of the story of Luma Luma. Originally, he is said to have had the form of a sea creature or whale. Luma Luma came to the lands of the Kunwinjku and Kuninjku from far to the east with his two wives (in some versions there are more wives and they also are accompanied by their children). Also, he is accompanied by Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent who has the ability to burrow through the earth and then emerge to create sacred sites. Luma Luma carried with him a stone axe, a spear and a power bag (a woven dilly bag containing sacred objects). Wherever he travelled, Luma Luma claimed the country and established the laws which governed the first peoples. He taught people to perform sacred rituals and showed them the sacred objects that were the source of his power.

    Luma Luma instilled fear in the first peoples, as his absolute authority was coupled with a degree of greed which was to be his downfall. Whatever foods his wives collected and cooked, he would declare to be taboo, thus they were prohibited from eating these. He would do the same with the game caught by the men. And while the men were away on their hunting expeditions, he would sleep with their wives. While Lumah Lumah prospered, the others starved. Some of the husbands sought retribution but were no match for Luma Luma.

    Eventually the ancestors of the Kunwinjku and Kuninjku decided to take their revenge on the giant. They laid a trap and the giant was engulfed by fire. As he burned, the clansmen peppered his body with spears. Yet Luma Luma begged to be spared so that he could show the men how to draw the sacred rarrk or ancestral clan cross-hatched designs by cutting them into his flesh. Once his task was complete, Luma Luma retreated to the sea from whence he came and transformed himself back into the form of a sea creature.

    Wally Caruana

    This lot is sold with extensive descriptive documentation.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
22% on the Hammer Price

GST at the current rate of 10% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Francesca Cavazzini
    Specialist - Aboriginal Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    76 Paddington Street
    Sydney, Australia 2021
    Work +61 2 8412 2225
    FaxFax: +61 2 9475 4110
Similar Items