These Dhakandajli are memorial poles for Manggalili clan people. The poles each have two jaws, one of which is shorter than the other. There are deep meanings behind the symbolism that distinguishes these logs as Manggalili vessels. It is generally conceived that the larrakitj used by Yolngu are an ancestral skin or body for bones that are essentially components of the creation. Once the flesh has dissolved, the unhelpful emanations have dispersed and the elemental spirit of the deceased has merged with its clan's reservoir of souls, the bones are ready to wear a new protection. The Manggalili place their bones inside a creature that is not known to non-Yolngu. This clan and the Wangurri recognise this creature, which sometimes manifests as a log and other times as Mulmirri, like a sea monster. This log/being can traverse the journey of the spirit through the various states of water depicted. Only a log imbued with mangrove worms that died when the log passed into fresh water causes the breakage that distinguishes Manggalili identity.—Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre © Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory


  • Title: Dhakandjali
  • Creator: Baluka Maymuru
  • Creator Lifespan: 1947
  • Creator Nationality: Australian
  • Date: 2006
  • Type: Three-Dimensional Work
  • Rights: Purchased 2006, Telstra Collection, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory © licensed by Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre
  • Medium: natural pigments on wood
  • Geographical Region of Artist: Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land
  • Exhibition: 23rd Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award 2006
  • Ethnic Language Group: Manggalili
  • Dimensions: (1) 248 x 18,( 2) 267 x 15 ,(3) 272 x 14 cm
  • Collection: Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art
  • Award: Winner Wandjuk Marika Memorial Three-Dimensional Award (sponsored by Telstra)
  • Artist Ethnicity: Aboriginal

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