Collection Online

Tubishikway, a mythical woman

earth and natural pigments on sago palm petiole
106.7 × 67.7 cm
Place/s of Execution
Bangwis village, Washkuk Hills, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Accession Number
Pacific Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through the NGV Foundation with the assistance of The Thomas William Lasham Fund, Founder Benefactor, 2001
© Courtesy of the copyright holder
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display
Physical description
The painting depicts a mythical woman named Tubishikay, an unmarried woman who found the penis-sheath left by a python when it left its lair to go hunting floating in the pool whilst foraging in the forest. Thinking it to be a fish, she took it home to eat but when she tried to cook it, the ‘fish’ refused to cook and several times, the ‘fish’ leapt off the flame and on to the ground. The woman became impatient and ate the ‘fish’ raw and when the python returned to his lair and discovered his penis-sheath missing, he was informed by other spirits that it was taken by the young woman. The python tracked to her house and told her parents that because she had eaten his penis-sheath, she had to marry him.