Lot 19
  • 19

Jimmy Mijau Mijau circa 1897-1985

7,000 - 10,000 GBP
8,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Jimmy Mijau Mijau
  • Three Dancing Women
  • Bears Bennett collection number 2 and catalogue number E2 together with extensive documentation on the label on the reverse.
  • Natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark
  • 96.5cm by 44cm


Painted in Western Arnhem Land circa 1958

The Dorothy Bennett Collection

Private Collection, Sydney, acquired from Dorothy Bennett in 1981

Sotheby's, Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 9 July, 2001, lot 20 (AU648)

Fiona Brockhoff, Melbourne

Catalogue Note

Cf. O'Ferrall, M., Keepers of the Secrets, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 1990, p. 42, nos. 44-5 for two paintings depicting similar figures; Berndt, R. & C., Aboriginal Australian Art: A Visual Perspective, Methuen Australia Pty. Ltd., Sydney, 1982, p.46, pl. 25, for a closely related example, titled 'Dancing Women'.

The label on reverse reads in part: "Mimis (sic) live within the rocks, and are so shy that they hide there all through the day, only emerging at night time to sing and dance, play and make love, hunt and fish.  

At dawn they run back inside the rocks and pull the rock door shut after them. In this painting the artist has depicted three Mimi (sic) women dancing. The design on their bodies is the artist's clan design and similar to his own body painting design in sacred ceremonies."

According to Berndt, this painting does not depict Mimih Spirits. Commenting on the related example, he states: "It depicts four women in the old East Alligator River style. The positioning of their arms, suggest dancing movement. The designs on their bodies could be incipient x-ray relevant to the backbone, but are more likely to be ochre decorations. On some occasions this has been categorised under Mimih art. In this case however it is not." (ibid. Berndt, p.151)