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National Museum of Australia

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Water buffalo carved by Albert Croker, Melville Island, 1964

2002.0066.0001

Water buffalo carved by Albert Croker, Melville Island, 1964

Object information

Physical description

A carved and painted wooden water buffalo made from one piece of solid wood. The ears and mouth are carved individually while the front and back legs are carved in one block each. The body and legs of the animal are covered in concentric circles in orange, white yellow and black pigment over an underlay of red-brown pigment. The spaces between the circles are filled with white dots. Two parallel lines have been painted along the back and down the tail. The head is black with brown lines on the sides of the face filled with yellow or white dots. The ears have bands of white, brown and yellow and the eyes are white ovals with brown and black centres. On the forehead is fork like motif with three prongs in white covered with red and yellow dots. The nostrils are defined by white dots with brown centres and the mouth is painted brown.

Statement of significance

This collection is comprised of a hand carved water buffalo [36 cm long] made by Albert Croker of Milikapiti, Melville Island in 1964. It is made of iron wood and decorated with natural earth pigments.

Albert Croker (c1908 - 1971) was a senior Tiwi elder and artist. He was a respected carver of traditional 'tutini' poles. The collection represents Croker's interpretation of a water buffalo, a species introduced to Melville Island by early settlers in the early nineteenth century. Croker's carving demonstrates not only his artistic creativity, but also illustrates the flexibility of Tiwi traditional artistic and cultural practice in incorporating new influences.

Object information

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