Aboriginal Gunwinggu X-Ray Bark Painting from Western Arnhem Land

Item BR159   

This Item was Sold on 12 October 2008 for $849

Similar artifacts for sale are often found on the Australian Aboriginal Artifacts web page. 

Historical Pricing information for this item and similar artifacts can be found at: Historical Artifact Prices.

This item is a first rate x-ray bark painting from the Gunwinggu Group, located in Oenpelli, Western Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. The painting is in near pristine condition and with only slight, normal warping. The bark is held flat by support sticks at the top and bottom. Ben Ruhe purchased this magnificent bark painting in 1979 at a government gallery in Oenpelli. The front has four indigenous animals painted on the surface in x-ray style art using traditional ochres. The animals depicted include the flying fox (fruit bat), echidna (spiny anteater, a monotreme), a goanna (monitor lizard) and a bandicoot (marsupial rat). The reverse side of the painting has a paper glued to it with the following essay:

Western Arnhem Land Paintings

Gungwinggu Group

Oenpelli, Western Arnhem Land

Throughout Western Arnhem Land great rocky escarpments rise from the surrounding plains. In the caves and on sheltered surfaces, Aboriginals have painted with ochre stone all the creatures which live among them and which share their spirit world - birds, fish, turtles, goannas, spiny anteater, snakes and other equal beings.

These creatures are shown with their outside shape visible to man, but in many cases they are depicted with an internal structure, as though the subject were being viewed under x-ray, and so the term x-ray paintings has been applied by Anthropologists. Bark Paintings from the area also depict the same subjects and style, and are much sought after by collectors throughout the world.

Height = 55 cm ; Width = 28 cm ; Weight = 462 gm

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