Dilly Burlupurr Bag by Winnie Mason | Maningrida Arts and Culture

This intricately woven dilly bag (burlupurr in Burarra language) is a traditional collecting basket. These baskets or bags are often made from Pandanus spiralis, a plant which grows in many areas of Arnhem Land.  They are often used to collect sugarbag native honey. As well as being of practical use, dilly bags are also of religious significance to Arnhem Land people. Dilly bags are said to be totemic objects and are associated with particular sites in the landscape.

Winnie Mason is a senior weaver and Burarra speaker, one of the east-side language groups who specialise in the customary conical dilly bags, woven string bags and mats. As has been done for generations, Winnie uses gun-menama (pandanus spiralis) to create her works. To prepare the pandanus the inner leaves of the plant are collected using a hook. Each V-shaped leaf is first split in half along its spine. After removing the sharp spines, the two surfaces of the leaf are then split away from other. After this preparation, the pandanus is boiled in a billycan with plant materials to dye the fibre. Like her contemporaries Winnie uses natural dyes to create extraordinary variation in hues and tones.

Situated at the mouth of the Liverpool River in northern Arnhem Land, Maningrida Arts & Culture supports artists from the main township and many surrounding homelands. The area where artists live encompasses 7,000 square kilometres of land and sea, and over 100 clan estates, where people speak more than 12 distinct languages. Aboriginal people in this region are still on country, surviving and resilient because their country is the centre of their epistemology, their belief system, culture – djang . Established in 1973, Maningrida is one the longest running art centres in Australia and is known as a pre-eminent site of contemporary cultural expression and art-making, abundant with highly collectable art and emerging talent.

Materials: Pandanus Spiralis and natural dies
15 x 15 x 17cm (vessel)
30cm (strap length)

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