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Selection of Photos from Lajamanu 1984 : exhibition, Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France, 2009  / Selection of Photos from Lajamanu 1984 : exhibition, Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France, 2009  / Barbara Glowczewski / Australia, Central Deserts, Lajamanu




4. Jampijinpa / Nampijinpa 

6. Jangala / Nangala

3. Jungarrayi / Nungarrayi

7. Japaljarri / Napaljarri


All the people who have the same skin name call each other ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ regardless of their blood relationship.


1. Japanangka / Napanangka

5. Japangardi  / Napangardi

2. Jakamarra  /  Nakamarra

8. Jupurrurla  /  Napurrurla


Central and Western Australian Aborigines generally have several names. Apart from their Indigenous names and the English surname and firstnames acquired through missionaries or administration, each Aboriginal person has a ‘skin’ name which gives him or her a specific place in a classificatory system of symbolic kin.


The system is formed of eight names doubled in two gender forms. The male names all start with J and the female name with N. All these terms are related in either a reciprocal or a unilateral way.


The non-Aboriginal people who work in the communities likewise receive a ‘skin’ name.


This ‘skin’ or ‘eight subsections’ system has been extensively studied by anthropologists as well as mathematicians (Denham & al 1979, Dumont 1966, Elkin 1954, Kaberry 1937, Levi-strauss 1947, McConvell 1985, Turner 1980, White 1981). At its most basic level, it corresponds to a dihedral group, a structure whose mathematical properties may be written as a cube (Laughren 1982), or a hypercube (Glowczewski 1991).


In this system, one should marry somebody whose skin name is in a ‘spouse’ relationship with one’s own name... In this way the child will receive a third skin name defined as ‘child’ of both the father’s name and the mother’s name. When people do not marry according to this rule, their children receive the skin name in a ‘child’ relationship, either with the mother’s skin name or with the father’s skin name, or they receive both names.


This system is important, especially in rituals. It operates as ‘role playing’. Each Dreaming is usually connected with a pair of skin names in a ‘father/offspring’ (father's sister/nephews) relationship. When custodians of different Dreamings come together for ceremonies, the men and women who are called by the two skin names connected with the Dreaming that is being painted, sung and danced, have to take on the role of kirda, or owners; people who have the skin names of the kirda women's children become their kurdungurlu, or managers.


This ritual owner/manager relationship is reversed according to the Dreaming being celebrated in the ceremony. Men and women are always kirda for their father’s Dreaming and kurdungurlu for their mother’s and spouse’s Dreaming. Because they are kurdungulu, when a spouse, a niece (man’s sister’s daughter or woman's brother’s daughter) or a brother-in-law help to finish an artist's painting, they are usually considered only as his or her assistants. But a father, an elder brother or sister, even if they did not help, can be acknowledged as co-owners of the painting because they are owners of the painted Dreaming.


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Archives de chercheurs: Barbara Glowczewski [Collection(s) 28]
Selection of Photos from Lajamanu 1984 : exhibition, Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France, 2009 [Set(s) 587]
Meta data
Object(s) ID 57781
Permanent URI
Title/DescriptionSelection of Photos from Lajamanu 1984 : exhibition, Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France, 2009
Author(s)Barbara Glowczewski
LocationAustralia, Central Deserts, Lajamanu
Coordinateslat -35.27 / long 149.08
Copyright Barbara Glowzewski
Rank 12 / 100
Filesize 963 Kb | 2400 x 1604 | 8 bits | image/jpeg
Transcription[ See/hide ]
Quote this document Glowczewski, Barbara 1984 [accessed: 2024/5/20]. "Selection of Photos from Lajamanu 1984 : exhibition, Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France, 2009 " (Object Id: 57781). In Selection of Photos from Lajamanu 1984 : exhibition, Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France, 2009 . ODSAS:

Text annotation

Date 2011-07-28/2011-07-28
Girls painted for end of the term 1984
Monica Napangardi Blacksmith painted karnta dreaming(insect gall), Dulcie Napaljarri Herbert yarnjilpiri painting(star painting),Vanessa Nungarrayi Hector,Lillian Napanangka Johnson,kana painting (diggging stick),Selina Nangala Robertson, Vanessa Nangala/Napurrurla Nelson,
2nd row from left to right: Melinda Napurrurla Simon (ngurlu),Sophia Nakamarra Donnelly (ngurlu),Patricia Nakamarra Patterson (puurda yam) and Valerie Nangala/Napurrurla Nelson
Author(s) Marlene Burns Nampijinpa
Date 2011-08-03/0001-01-01
Lilian Napanangka my second eldest daughter
today she is marred has four children one son three daughter,s and two granchildren. she is living at lajamanu and are living a christian life.
Exif FileNameglow_diapos_009.jpg
SectionsFoundANY_TAG, IFD0, EXIF
htmlwidth="2400" height="1604"
CopyrightBarbara Glowczewski / Musée des Confluences
SoftwareAdobe Photoshop CS Windows
DateTime2009:03:05 09:52:38
CopyrightBarbara Glowczewski / Musée des Confluences