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Date: 1991
Overall: 520 x 280 mm, 0.55 kg
Medium: Pandanus leaves, dye
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Bag
Object No: 00015578
Place Manufactured:Maningrida

User Terms

    Burlurpurrs are traditional bags used for collecting fish by the Indigenous people of Cape Stewart, Northern Territory. This bag is dyed yellow and has four fibre handles. Unlike this example, bags used for hunting were traditionally made by men and left undecorated without paint or dye.
    SignificanceThis burlurpurr is representative of Indigenous weaving techniques and hunting equipment used in the Northern Territory. It demonstrates the type of utilitarian objects used by men and women when they interact with the sea. Today these functional items are mainly produced for artistic purposes with the Maningrida Art Centre being a well recognised centre for weaving.
    HistoryBurlurpurrs are everyday hunting bags used by the Indigenous people in the Northern Territory. These twined dilly bags are made from pandanus leaves and can be closed shut or left open depending on the draw string. This allows food to be aired or kept waterproof. Pandanus is a common material used in Arnhem Land for making baskets, bags and traps. The plant naturally grows in Queensland, the Northern Territory and north Western Australia in damp environments near creeks and waterways. The top leaves of the Pandanus plant are collected, stripped and prepared for weaving into traditional objects such as baskets, mats, fishing nets and sculptures.

    The Maningrida Arts and Culture centre supports a range of different Aboriginal language and tribal groups who are well known for their basket weaving, fibre sculptures and carvings. Maningrida is situated on the north central Arnhem Land coast of the Arafura Sea, about 500 km east of Darwin. Many of the objects are made for artistic rather than functional use and demonstrate both traditional and contemporary Aboriginal culture.

    Fishing was (and still is) a major source of food for Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Fish bags and traps being widely used by the people in the central and western parts of Arnhem Land. They were made from a range of different materials depending on their specific purposes. The lighter ones constructed from pandanus leaves were used for catching smaller fish species, and the sturdy large traps made from vine were for trapping larger fish such as barramundi and salmon catfish. Traps were inserted into a fence of upright wooden stakes, built across tidal creeks so that when the tide runs out the fish were forced into the trap. Today these traps are rarely used as they have been replaced by nylon fishing lines and nets. However woven fish traps and carry bags are still made at the Maningrida Arts and Culture centre.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Burlurpurr

    Assigned title: Burlurpurr [1]

    Primary title: Bag (Burlurpurr)

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