Latjin ga Birku’ (mangrove worms and fighting sticks) – Wolbukarra body paint design
Ochre on bark
80cm x 21cm
Latjin ga Birku’ are two totems belonging to the Manydjikay clan. They are painted onto the chest of young men during Dhapi (Initiation ceremony).
Birku’ are ceremonial fighting sticks. They have ends shaped like the tail of the Ŋuykal (giant trevally). The diamond shapes painted on the rärrk on the Birku’ represent Latjin (mangrove worms), another Wolbukarra clan totem.
Birku’ are not used for real fighting. When the two Manydjikay clans come together for a bäpurru (funeral) they carry their Birku’ and perform the Birku’ buŋgul (dance). Wobulkarra Birku’ are red and yellow. Dhaliny Birku’ are white and black. The Birku’ in this painting belong to the Wobulkarra.
Latjin are mangrove worms that live in the Giyapara (mangrove tree). In this miny’tji latjin are represented by the linked diamond shapes. Latjin are also an abundant food source on the Wobulkarra Manydjikay homeland of Laŋarra (Howard Island).