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Djerrk (bag)

Date: 1991
Overall: 330 x 210 x 45 mm, 0.15 kg
Medium: Nylon, shells
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Bag
Object No: 00015576
Place Manufactured:Northern Territory

User Terms

    A djerrk made by Therese Cooper. A djerrk is a small hunting bag used for carrying small fish or animals. This djerrk is made from rope which was washed up on the beach and collected by women. The recycled nylon has been respun and looped into a small bag, colours are blue and green. The bag is adorned with an assortment of shells adhered to the nylon.
    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. Usually it is the roots of the Banyan tree that provide an appropriate soft fibre for weaving. In this case Therese Cooper has recycled modern fibre into a traditional form.

    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.

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