Yirawala Artwork Luma Luma
Yirawala painted many images of Lumaluma and the Mardayin ceremony was an important topic in many of his works.
Luma Luma instilled fear in the first peoples, as his absolute authority was coupled with a degree of greed which was to be his downfall. Whatever foods his wives collected and cooked, he would declare to be taboo, thus they were not allowed to eat them. He would do the same with the game caught by the men. While the men were away on their hunting expeditions, he would sleep with their wives. While Lumaluma prospered, the others starved. Some of the husbands sought retribution but were no match for Luma Luma.
The ancestors of the Kunwinjku and Kuninjku decided to take their revenge on the giant. They laid a trap and the giant killed by fire. As he burned, the clansmen peppered his body with spears. While dying he begged to show the men how to draw the sacred rarrk or ancestral clan cross-hatched designs by cutting them into his flesh. Once his task was complete, Luma Luma retreated to the sea from whence he came and transformed himself back into the form of a sea creature.
Lumaluma is the main creator figure of the Mardayin ceremony. Lumaluma created all the other Ancestors of contemporary humans. He placed aboriginal people into their respective clan territories. As one feature of this creation, he made all the ceremonial paintings used by dancers in the Mardayin ceremony.
The sacred designs painted on the belly are Mardayin design. Lumaluma’s body with these designs made him glistened with Ancestral power. When aboriginal initiates get painted with these designs, their bodies receive a measure of this original power.
Lumaluma also made all the sacred objects used in the Mardayin ceremony. According to law his very body was cut into pieces that transformed into the sacred objects.