Big-unn – Bookul (Shield – Lawyer Cane Leaf Design)

Michael Boiyool Anning
Big-unn – Bookul (Shield – Lawyer Cane Leaf Design), 2017
Natural ochres and charcoal on softwood rainforest timber, 90 x 40 x 7.5cm
Photo: Mick Richards
$4,850 (Available)


Bookul is also spelt Bugul, and the name of the fish tail lawyer can leaf (Calamus caryotoides). Fibre from this type of lawyer cane was traditionally used to make the body of the Bundu, a biocornual basket. Lawyer cane is a prickly large climbing palm found abundantly throughout the rainforest. Lengths of lawyer cane up to four metres long were split a knife or thumbnail, then twined together to produce the distinct crescent shape form of a biocornual. Bundu are still made by both men and women using a traditional technique handed down from one generation to the next.