Lot 42
  • 42

Lipundja 1912-1968

12,000 - 18,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Lipundja
  • Wild Honey Figure
  • Natural earth pigments on carved wood
  • 102cm high


Executed at Milingimbi in Central Arnhem Land, circa 1963

Collected by Dorothy Bennett
Tom and Adi Barnett Collection, USA
The Barnett Collection at Columbia University, New York
Sotheby’s, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 30 June, 1997, lot 161 (AU612)
Fiona Brockhoff, Melbourne

Catalogue Note

Cf., Judith Ryan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in the Collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, NGV, Melbourne, 2012, pp.62-63, for related examples.

This sculpture is the larger of the two Wild Honey Figures by Lipundja, formerly in the Barnett Collection at Columbia University, the smaller of which was acquired in 1997 for the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.


Judith Ryan writes with relation to similar figures, “Lipundja, a Gupapuyngu Man of High Degree, possessing magical powers and exceptional knowledge was born in the bush a decade before the founding of Milingimbi mission in 1923 and became a leading exponent of bark painting and painted figurative sculpture during the 1950s and 1960s. His Mokuy figures articulated with diamond markings represent the sugarbag ancestor, also known as Murayana, meaning a spirit that roams about. The diamond Mimy’tji (sacred design) signifies Niwuda, wild honey of the Yirritja Moitey, bequeathed to the Gupapuyngu people by Lanydjung, a major ancestral being. The diamonds demote a honeycomb filled with honey, the dots indicate bees and the whole configuration represents the structure of a beehive. When painted on an initiate’s body or a ceremonial object, this design invokes the power of the sugarbag ancestor who created the sacred songs, dances and designs for Yirritja honey in the Wongarr (ancestral period)” (ibid. p.62)