Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

bark painting depicting Namarrkon
  • unknown Australian Aboriginal maker
  • bark painting depicting Namarrkon, late 1800s–1968
  • Where object was made: Australia
  • bark, paint
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 64 x 47 x 2 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 25 3/16 x 18 1/2 x 3/4 in
  • Gift of James A. Sleeper
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3624

The rectangle of flattened bark has a dark brown field with one fantastic creature depicted, identified as Namarrkon, the lightning man. He has a tall, thin body, his legs are spread and bent at the knees. His arms are spread and bent at the elbows. Lines connect the head to the feet, through his left hand and right elbow. There is a line from his right elbow to his torso and a line from the left side of the head to the left elbow to the left knee. All of these lines are white with red dots. There are rounded projections, in white only, from the knees, possibly representing stone axes. The bulbous white projections with red dots represent testicles.