Permanent Exhibitions

The Punttu Family Exhibition

Punttu is often translated into English as ‘skin name’. It is certainly a name. Each Warumungu person has one, maybe two, punttu. Women’s punttu start with N, like Nappanangka, while men’s punttu start with J, like Jappanangka. You use them instead of personal names when talking to people ‘Hey Nappanangka!’, or when talking about people ‘Nappanangka’s gone home’. We don’t really know where ‘skin’ came from. Perhaps it reflects the fact that your punttu is as much part of you as your skin is. You can’t change it.

There are sixteen Warumungu punttu, eight for women, and eight for men. So there are eight punttu groups, sometimes called ‘skin groups’. Nappanangka and Jappanangka are in the same group. These eight punttu groups can be merged together into two large groups, called Kingili and Wurlurru. These are ‘patrimoieties’. People are usually in the opposite patrimoiety from their mothers, and in the same patrimoiety as their father.


Changing Exhibitions