Mathaman Marika (circa 1915-1970) Untitled (Buralku - Spirit Place for the Dead))
Lot 129
Mathaman Marika (circa 1915-1970) Untitled (Buralku - Spirit Place for the Dead)
Sold for AU$ 9,600 (US$ 8,615) inc. premium

Lot Details
Mathaman Marika (circa 1915-1970)
Untitled (Buralku - Spirit Place for the Dead)
bears artist's name, title and description of the story on a label on the reverse
natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark
76 x 37.5cm

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Painted in North East Arnhem Land circa 1960
    Planet Corroboree, Byron Bay
    Private collection

    The painting depicts part of the mortuary ceremonies of the Rirratjingu clan from North East Arnhem Land. The following description applies to the lower panel of the painting. In the top left corner of the bottom panel the spirit of the deceased, who appears with horn-like ears, is guided by three mokuy spirits to meet clan members who had previously died. The horned spirit appears again at the centre of panel being prepared for its journey to the land of dead. Two ancestors play didjeridu and clap sticks to which women dance in mourning. Two banyan trees appear in the lower corners.

    In the top panel rays of light from the setting sun, a metaphor for one's passing from life to the afterlife, are coloured by the dust kicked up by the dancers' movements.

    A similar scene is depicted by Mathaman in a work illustrated in H.M. Groger-Wurm, Australian Aboriginal Bark Paintings and their Mythological Interpretation: Vol.1, Eastern Arnhem Land, Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 1973, p.111, pl.161. Another related work by the artist depicting the Morning Star Ceremony in the collection of the Art Gallery of Western Australia is illustrated in M.A. O'Ferrall, Keepers of the Secrets: Aboriginal Art from Arnhemland in the Collection of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth: Art Gallery of Western Australia, 1990, pp.112-3, pl.134.

    Wally Caruana

    The descriptive label on the reverse of the image reads in part: One day the spirit arrived with long ears, they all felt him and sent him back to earth because he was not dead. When he eventually died and went to the spirit place they had to cut off his ears to let him in.

    The rays in the top of the picture represent three things: The orange colour is dust rising from all the dancing with the arrival of the new spirit; the black lines indicate the path to other spirit places and the red lines indicate the message going out when a new spirit has arrived at this particular place.'
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. Customer Services (Australia)
    Customer Services
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +61 2 8412 2222
    FaxFax: +61 2 9475 4110
Similar Items