water container (container (containers))

Black gourd water-carrier in a finely plaited sennit network.

Water Carrier, Kanak people, Grand Terre, New Caledonia, Southern Melanesia. The artistry embodied by this functional water carrier from the Kanak people of New Caledonia lies in the remarkable net enclosing the large bottle gourd within (Lagenaria siceraria). Plaited from the husk fibres of the invaluable coconut (Cocos nucifera), which literally makes human life possible in many parts of the Pacific, the immensely strong and decay-resistant cordage is interwoven in a single unbroken length around the gourd’s entire surface to create a spherical net of diamond-shaped areas, which is repeated nine times in every place. The two ends of the cord are also completely hidden, and so it seems that the weaving has no beginning or end. Gourd, coconut fibre. Late 19th Century. Formerly in the private collection of Mr. William Oldman.

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