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National Museum of Australia

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4

Small wooden bowl made from River Red Gum

2004.0085.0004

Small wooden bowl made from River Red Gum

Object information

Physical description

An elongated concave wooden container made from River Red Gum, with pokerwork design on the outer surface. The design features a spotted goanna surrounded by concentric curved lines, which cover the rest of the outer surface of the container.

Statement of significance

The Maruku Arts Collection 3 comprises three large, wooden containers with pokerwork designs depicting the Seven Sisters story; three small wooden containers or scrapers decorated with secular pokerwork designs; and two traditional Indigenous spindles made from tecoma - spearwood vine. The small wooden containers are carved from itara - river red gum.

These objects represent the way Aboriginal communities responded to change whilst maintaining traditional cultural practices. Traditional spindles, used for spinning human hair and animal fur, were used to spin wool after the introduction of sheep to Ernabella in the 1930s. Fencing wire, heated over fires, was used to burn designs into traditional wooden crafts to create pokerwork for the tourist market sold through Ernabella Arts which opened in 1948.

Object information

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