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National Museum of Australia

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4

Bicornual [bicornuate] basket

Object information

Physical description

A bicornual open weave brown lawyer cane fibre basket with a round opening. The basket consists of evenly spaced U shaped vertical cane stems that are bound onto horizontal oval rings of thicker canes. The two pointed corners at the base are closely woven. The top edges of the vertical stems are cut straight across and a stitch similar to a backstitch is used to bind them together.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of a 'jawun' bicornual basket from northeast Queeensland made by the Nyawaygi or Wargamaygan Aboriginal people c1900. The basket has an open weave made from lawyer cane with warp and weft fibres. It does not have the long handle often associated with this type basket.

'Jawun' bicornual baskets are unique to the Indigenous rainforest groups of northeast Queensland in the near-coastal region between Cairns and Ingham, just north of Townsville. In the latter part of the nineteenth century European pastoralists and Chinese miners established settlements in the area. Conflicts over land and resources resulted in restricting Indigenous people's access to areas of lawyer cane. This, coupled with the distribution of rations to those living as labourers on farms and at missions, saw the production of 'jawun' all but cease and they are now rare. In recent times the traditional owners and contemporary artists have revived the skills and knowledge needed to make these distinctive baskets.

Object information

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