Lot 38
  • 38

Nangunyarri ('Number One') circa 1980-1971

4,000 - 6,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Nangunyarri ('Number One')
  • Bima
  • Natural earth pigments on carved ironwood
  • 30cm high


Executed Bathurst Island, circa early 1960s
Louis A. Allen, Palo Alto, California, USA
Sotheby’s, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 29 June, 1998, lot 77 (AU624)
Fiona Brockhoff, Melbourne


Open Air: Portraits in the Landscape, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 3 December 2008 - 1 March 2009

Catalogue Note

This sculpture represents Bima, a figure in Tiwi mythology, mourning the death of her son. Louis Allen’s accompanying documentation reads as follows:

‘In the Dreamtime the man Purukapali and his wife Bima had a son. Bima went into the bush for a tryst with Tjapara, the brother of her husband. While the couple committed adultery, they left the baby all day in the sun. When they returned at sunset, the child was dead. Purukapali, the husband, came in from his hunting and found his son dead. He beat his wife severely, then pursued his brother, Tjapara into a tree; they climbed higher and higher, until in desperation, Tjapara leaped into the sky and sought refuge in the moon. He became the Man in the Moon.’