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Byikigi (Dilly Bag)

Date: c 1990 - 1991
Dimensions:
Overall: 360 x 630 mm, 0.25 kg
Medium: Woven bush grass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Bag
Object No: 00015749
Place Manufactured:Mornington Island

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    Description
    A byikigi (dilly bag) made by Marda Gavenor on Mornington Island.
    This byikigi is a large sized dilly bag used for carrying food and is made from woven bush grass. It could be used for either carrying personal belongings or catching fish like stingrays and crabs.
    Language group: Lardil.
    SignificanceThis byikigi is a significant object in the traditional sea faring way of life for the Lardil of Mornington Island. A simple yet essential tool that could serve multiple uses.
    HistoryTo continue the Australian National Maritime Museum's involvement with the Mornington Island community who were involved with the making of the raft (00004997) in 1987, curators asked the chairman of the local council to talk to the older residents about what sort of objects would have been used on the raft. The Chairperson, Nelson Gavinor came back with a list of objects he said were like the a kit. These objects, including this byikigi, were a coolamon (00015744) ), fish trap (00015748), yamma (00015747) bailer shell (00015746) and a spear thrower (00015746). Of these objects only a few are still being used.
    The objects are painted with the names of the seasons.The Lardil people did not use the names 'Autumn or Spring' but called the seasons by certain foods. A season was named after what was collected, eaten or was plentiful at that time. So that someone would say 'My child was born at turtle time' .

    The rafts, or walpas, assocaited with objects such as this were small and not very stable. It required a great deal of skill to cover any great distance at sea.The walpas became water logged after a few hours of exposure to water and had to be hauled up and dried out. This then, limited the distances that the traveller could cover without contact with land.The walpas were therefore used chiefly to 'island hop' over short distances.
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