Mimih Spirits

Mimihs are ancestral, not creator beings who are widely depicted in rock art, carvings and legends of Western Arnhem Land. A non-physical being, they are considered to be trickster spirits. Culturally they can be constructive, teaching knowledge and skills, or destructive & mischievous. They are also used to explain irregular occurrences or the existence of unusual phenomena in the landscape. They have powers that allow them to disappear inside the rock face of the cliffs where they live in their own unique world in the same way as humans, the only difference being that the minihs are so tall and thin they risk being blown away in a strong wind!

According to legends they have been known to steal humans and take them to their secret world beyond the rock face. The rock art depictions of mimihs are believed to be cultural depictions of their life and customs, actually painted by the Mimihs themselves to teach humans cultural skills like hunting, cooking. fighting. painting and other tribal responsibilities. These also show the Mimihs carrying baskets and weapons and wearing elaborate headdresses and other body decorations. Many of these depictions are so old that they cannot be fully dated, but we know they are old as they do not depict modern (last 10,000 years) practices or weapons such as spear throwers.

Mimih Spirits