Embodiment and Relatedness: the rock art of Muluwa, Wulibirra, and Kamandarringabaya

Author(s): Liam Brady; John Bradley

Year: 2017


As an interpretive tool for rock art studies, the concept of embodiment has much to offer especially when used in conjunction with ethnographic data. In this paper we focus on embodiment in the context of relatedness using a case study involving Yanyuwa rock art from three sites – Muluwa, Wulibirra, and Kamandaringabaya – in the Sir Edward Pellew islands in northern Australia’s southwest Gulf of Carpentaria region. Although not stylistically similar, the rock art from these sites is intimately connected to the travels, events, networks and bodily transformations involving the White-bellied Sea Eagle and Dugong Hunter Ancestral Beings (Dreamings) as well as other spiritual beings known as namurlangjangku. Using ethnographic data collected over a 30+ year period we highlight how these sites and motifs are part of a network of non-human entities to which human entities then become involved – the images found here embody the network of relations that Yanyuwa find themselves within. More specifically, we explore the interrelationship between Ancestral and spiritual beings, place, embodiment, kinship, and rock art to better understand how Yanyuwa rock art is perceived and experienced, as well as the role it plays in shaping Yanyuwa identity and relationships with neighbouring groups.

Cite this Record

Embodiment and Relatedness: the rock art of Muluwa, Wulibirra, and Kamandarringabaya. Liam Brady, John Bradley. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430602)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15228