Earth pigments on Stringybark hollow pole
214 x 15cm
The journey of freshwater through country to the sea is thematic for many of the clan groups of north east Arnhem Land.
This water is still fire imbued as the agent of metamorphoses of Bäru himself from human to reptile. The diamond design occurs also in the setate of Yathikpa where bäru was burnt and changed into crocodile form.The diamonds in this design however are notched with a set of small bars which indicate the presence of the log (hollow log coffin or larrakitj) traversing the water and thereby denoting Baykultji.
This barrier marks the division between salt affected and fresh waters.In sacred song Baru the ancestral crocodile sits on the seaward side accompanied by his disciples Baliny and Nyungala (Barramundi and Ox-eye herring) waiting for his prey (wallaby). Gany’tjurr the Reef heron is an archetype of the Yirritja moiety male hunter.
The course of the water that connects the Madarrpa land estates, originates through the powers and travels of Bäru imbuing the waters and land with the special qualities that lay claim of ownership to those that stem from it.
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