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Table 1 Descriptions of the six museum artefacts sampled in this study

From: Chemical characterisation of museum-curated ethnographic resins from Australia and New Guinea used as adhesives, medicines and narcotics

Sample Artefact Description Geographical Origin Collector and Date Collected Photograph Notes Description of sample
PRM23 “Xanthorrhea (‘blackboy’) gum from the base of a burnt grass-tree stem.” Near Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia Henry Balfour, 23 August 1914 Local name: ‘black boy’ Deep red, brittle
Function: Adhesive
Accession number: 1914.38.3
PRM25 “Cowrie [shell] filled with spinifex gum, used by the TAKETA (doctor) for rubbing over the affected part.” Sherlock River, (NW) Western Australia Emile Clement, by 1924 Cultural group: Ngarluma (Gnalluma) Black, hard
Function: Medicinal
Catalogue card: “Medicine” shell (Cypraia serpentis) filled with gum. The Taketa (doctor) rubs the patient with this. Length of shell 6 cm.
Accession number: 1924.63.11
PRM26 Cowrie filled with spinifex gum, used by the TAKETA (doctor) for rubbing over the affected part. Sherlock River, (NW) Western Australia Emile Clement, by 1924 Cultural group: Ngarluma Yellowish black, glassy and brittle
Function: Medicinal
Catalogue card: “Medicine” shell (Cypraia incipiens) filled with gum. The Taketa (doctor) rubs the patient with this. Length of shell 4.8 cm.
Accession number: 1924.63.12
PRM27 4 lumps of bees wax Wanigera (Wanigela), in Collingwood Bay, Oro Province, British New Guinea W.H. Chignell, by 1908 Cultural group: Ubir Yellowish brown, soft and waxy
Function: Adhesive
Local name: kemeri
Catalogue card: “Wax, Kemeri, from wild bees’ nests, for fixing ornamental seeds, beads, etc.”
Accession number: 1908.70.93
PRM28 4 lumps of bee’s wax or resin used as an adhesive. Wanigera, in Collingwood Bay, Oro Province, British New Guinea W.H. Chignell, by 1908 Cultural group: Ubir Yellowy amber, glassy and brittle
Local name: fiufiu
Function: Adhesive
Catalogue card: “fiufiu, resin used as an adhesive”.
Accession number: 1908.70.94
PRM29 “Gum from the canarium almond tree. Mixed with tobacco to make a cool smoke. In a native packet of palm leaf.” Kurtachi, Bougainville, Northern Solomons province of Papua New Guinea Beatrice Blackwood, 1930 Cultural group: Kurtachi village Black, brittle
Local name: tagon
Function: Narcotic
Catalogue card: “Tagon. Gum from canarium almond tree. Mixed with tobacco to make a cool smoke. In a native packet of palm leaf.” 17 cm width c.4.8 cm Colour dark brown.
Accession number: 1931.86.335