Close message Scootle has stopped supporting resources that use the Adobe Flash plug-in from 18 Dec 2020. Learning paths that include these resources will have alerts to notify teachers and students that one or more of the resources will be unavailable. Click here for more info.

Image Carved emu egg, c1900

TLF ID M001250

This is an emu egg carved in cameo technique and mounted on a silver tripod stand, made by Jonaski Takuma, Sydney, New South Wales. The carved bush scene depicts two bushmen seated beside a campfire, watching a billy boil. The carved egg measures 12.0 cm high x 16.2 cm wide x 11.4 cm deep.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This is an excellent example of the late-19th and early-20th century Australian craft of carving emu eggshells, using the cameo technique, for sale as gifts and ornaments. Many were subsequently set in silver or electroplated-silver mounts. This continued a colonial tradition developed in Australia by immigrant silversmiths in the mid-1850s. A small number of carved eggs were taken to England and Europe, where they were mounted in silver by local silversmiths.
  • While carved emu eggs of the period can rarely be attributed to individual makers, it is known that this piece was designed and crafted by Jonaski Takuma, a Japanese craftsman working in Sydney. The carved scene is signed with his name.
  • Takuma worked as an egg carver between about 1893 and 1910 and had a shop in Sydney's Strand Arcade. The nationalistic spirit of these objects is evident in the choice of material and the Australian scenery, both bushland and urban, usually depicting Indigenous people, settlers and Australian fauna. This example features a bush scene with two bearded men sitting at a campfire, smoking pipes and making billy tea in a billycan.
  • Takuma also used his talents for design and story-telling in his children's story, 'Kookaburra (the laughing jackass) and the black snake', which was published in 1896 by Geo Robertson and Co, Melbourne. It is not certain whether the story was written around existing carved egg designs, or whether eggs were carved to illustrate the story.

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Powerhouse Museum
  • Organization: Powerhouse Museum
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: NSW, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Person: Jonaski Takuma
  • Description: author
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Curriculum Corporation and Trustees of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences 2010 (except where otherwise indicated). You may view, display, print out, copy and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.