Netbag (bilum)

1964.121.62b

About this object

A rectangular string bag with integral handle. Dyed fibres give an overall design of rectangles in dark brown, red, yellow and natural colours.

'Bilums' (netbags) are usually made by women for women in New Guinea. They come in different sizes, the larger ones to carry a wide variety of things including food and babies. They can be sold or traded, but often women give them to female friends as gifts.

This large, everyday type is closely associated with women’s work and women’s bodies, and specifically the womb. They are also items of clothing worn by both women and men, and can show their status or express regional or tribal identity. In some parts of New Guinea, bilums are important valuables. For example they may be exchanged formally as part of a woman’s bridewealth payment. They are a good example of wealth created by women for exchange within existing systems, and increasingly also a way that women can enter into a cash economy.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Personal Object
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Oceania: Melanesia: Papua New Guinea: Oro Province: Mambare
  • Date made
    1920s before
  • Materials
    Pigment; Fibre
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, World Cultures
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Evan R Gill, 1964
  • Collector
    Stephen Romney Maurice Gill
  • Place collected
    Oceania: Melanesia: Papua New Guinea: Oro Province
  • Date collected
    1908 - 1952
  • Measurements
    500 mm x 860 mm
  • Related people
    Evan Robertson Gill ( Previous owner); Stephen Romney Maurice Gill ( Collector, previous owner)

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Evan Robertson Gill

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1964
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Stephen Romney Maurice Gill

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
Page load time: 218 ms