Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tribal Art from our private collection

Poking around in our personal collection, we have turned up a couple of items never before presented to our public.

One Australian Aboriginal item is a beautiful, round, hand-woven basket done in pandanus fiber, with a firmly fitting lid, a four-coil handle and rosettes on each side. We acquired it in Cairns, at the Capricorn Gallery.

At the time, it was highly regarded by the gallery owner, as an outstanding example of the basket-weaving tradition and skills of the Australian Aboriginal artisans from the Oenpelli/Kakadu region of the Northern Territory.

The size is 10" high by 13" in diameter.

Unfortunately, the name of the basket weaver has been lost to the ages.

Pandanus is a common plant fiber from the Australian outback and top end, that is used for basket making. Colors are achieved by dying the fibers with natural ochres, ground into a fine powder and boiled in water.

This basket is a true expression of Australian Aboriginal culture and art in a functional piece. It is possible to be moved by the spirit when looking at it and feeling the quality of the weaving.

A second item from Aboriginal Australia is this carving of a parrot. We believe it was created by an Aborigine artist from Groote Eylandt, a sizable island to the north of the Australian mainland in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Blitners are a well-known family of artists from Groote Eylandt and we feel one of them could have been the creator of this remarkable piece.

Groote Eylandt is occupied by the Warnindhilyagwa people. It received its unusual name when named by Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman. Groote Eylandt is archaic Dutch for Large Island.

Regional cultures within Australia can vary widely in their traditions and art styles. The somewhat rough quality of this carving suggests it is rather old piece, although we can not attest to its age. We find it very powerful, reflecting portrayal from a time when parrots were important totems in Northern Australia. It is one of our favorite vintage pieces, standing 26" high with a 4.5" diameter at the base. Colors were achieved using natural ochres, kaolin and charcoal.

Eventually, both of these items will find their way to our web site. If you are interested n acquiring either of them, please visit us at TribalWorks.com and navigate to the Australian Room.

You are always welcome.

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