A Large Bi-Cornual Basket (Jawun), North East Queensland
Lot 8
A Large Bi-Cornual Basket (Jawun), North East Queensland
AU$ 12,000 - 18,000
US$ 11,000 - 17,000
Auction Details
Lot Details
A Large Bi-Cornual Basket (Jawun), North East Queensland
woven lawyer cane and bush string
48 x 44 (irregular)cm (18 7/8 x 17 5/16in).


    Private collection

    Cf. See Howard Morphy, Aboriginal Art, London: Phaidon, 1998, p.347, p.341, pl.231, for illustrations and a discussion of other early and fine examples in the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford; and Julie Ewington, 'Working the River: Baskets of the Rainforest', and D. Henry with T. Johnson, 'Jawun: An interview with Desley Henry', in the Queensland Art Gallery's exhibition, Story Place: Indigenous Art of Cape York and the Rainforest, 2003, for a discussion on the history, construction methods and use of Queensland rainforest baskets.

    Referring to the examples held in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Morphy writes, 'The two-cornered baskets made from lawyer cane are striking and elegant objects. The mouth of the basket is circular: the body opens out with curved lines ending in sharply pointed corners. The form seems to be the architectural product of the mathematical formula combining strength with flexibility, a highly complex form based on simple principles'. (ibid, p.347).

    Jawun or bi-cornual baskets are made by the people in the rainforest area along the eastern coast of Far North Queensland. Historically they were constructed by men and used by women, though in recent years women have also made them. The baskets are used for a wide range of purposes, including as carrying baskets when hunting and gathering, with the looped handle suspended from the forehead, as baby carriers, as fish traps in rivers and in the preparation of a variety of bush foods. Sometimes baskets were painted with traditional designs related to those found on Queensland rainforest shields. This fine example is likely to date from the late 19th century.

Saleroom notices

  • This lot was purchased by the vendor from Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney
  1. Francesca Cavazzini
    Specialist - Aboriginal Art
    76 Paddington Street
    Sydney, 2021
    Work +61 2 8412 2225
    FaxFax: +61 2 9475 4110