A Bicornual Basket or Jawun, North East Queensland Late 19th Century
- Woven lawyer cane
The Thomas Vroom Collection, The Netherlands
Morphy says, “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 a mathematical formula combining strength with flexibility, a highly complex form based on simple principles... these rare objects epitomise the rich basketry traditions that exist throughout Australia wherever the raw materials are available.” (ibid)
The baskets are made by the people in the rainforest area from around Cooktown in the north, to the Cardwell area in the south on the eastern coast of Cape York. Historically, they were made by men and used by women, although in more recent times women have made them too. Jawun have a variety of purposes: they are used as carrying baskets with the handle looped around the forehead; as fish traps in rivers where the horns of the baskets allow them to be wedged between sticks or rocks; and as sieves to leach out toxic substances from a variety of bush food.