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1985.0259.0095 is one of seven bark paintings that appear on Davidson's collection list under the heading 'Bark paintings ? Macassan Prau ? Yirritja and Dhuwa Moieties'. The following explanation comprises two parts: a general account that precedes the individual descriptions of works and the description for 1985.0259.0095.
The praus the Macassan traders arrived in are painted by the old men who could remember them. In 1907 the Macassans were forced to cease trading, and fishing operations along the Arnhem Land coast, this definite date is useful in estimating the age of men like Birrikitji and others (Collection list for Davidson collection, p. 12).
This painting is most unusual as it shows the Macassans boiling down the trepang. Between the two boiling down pots is a stylized mangrove tree. The bark of this tree was used in the boiling process (Collection list for Davidson collection, p. 12).
A bark painting worked with ochres that is divided into three section. The middle and lower sections depict two ships with sails, each with human figures on board. The sails define the edge of each section. At the top of the painting there are two pairs of human figures each stirring the contents of large pots. There is a tree in the centre of this section.
W 575mm x H 1350mm x D 30mm
Verified by D Kaus 29/10/2012
Place of issue