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Djerrk (bag)

Date: 1991
Overall: 430 x 290 mm, 0.15 kg
Medium: Banyan tree fibre
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Bag
Object No: 00015573
Place Manufactured:Gorrong-gorrong

User Terms

    Indigenous groups living close to the sea and estuaries in the Northern Territory used djerrks like this as traditional carry bags to gather food. This bag features nine handle straps and was woven with fibre made from the roots of the Banyan tree. This bag allowed wet food including fish and mussels to drain and air after they were collected.
    SignificanceThis djerrk is representative of everyday carrying equipment used in the Northern Territory and illustrates the importance of the sea and waterways as a source of food for people in the region. It also demonstrates traditional weaving techniques and is one of a number of pieces woven by recognised Indigenous artists at Maningrida.
    HistoryDjerrks (meaning string bag) are woven by looping and knotting fibre string around a weaver's legs as they sit on the floor. The string is then looped in a spiral pattern from the bag's brim to its base and forms a cylinder. The bags vary from small personal-sized items to large objects used for hunting and collecting small animals, fish or mussels. The loose weave allows wet foods to drain and be aired, while the roots of the Banyan tree provide an appropriate soft fibre for weaving.

    Maningrida is situated on the north central Arnhem Land coast of the Arafura Sea, about 500 km east of Darwin. The Indigenous art community attracts a range of Aboriginal language and tribal groups who are well known for basket weaving, fibre sculptures and carvings. Many of their objects are made for artistic rather than functional use. For the local community the process of making woven objects reflects traditional Aboriginal lifestyle.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Djerrk (bag)

    Web title: Djerrk (bag)

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