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Burlupurr – large dillybag

Burlupurr, or dilly bag, is a large woven collecting basket. These large bags are often made from the vine ‘Malasia scandens’, a strong pliable plant which grows along the floor and into the canopy of monsoon vine thickets. The bags are used to collect any kind of large numbers of heavy foods such as fish caught in conical fish traps or large collections of yams.

They can also be made from Pandanus spiralis, a plant which grows in many areas of Arnhem Land. These dilly bags are a tightly woven collecting basket, very finely made. These dilly bags are often used to collect sugarbag, the 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 associated with particular sites in the landscape.

Name: Doreen Jinggarrabarra

Language: Burarra (Anbarra)

Community: Maningrida


Doreen Jinggarrabarra is a leading fibre artist at Maningrida Arts & Culture. After watching her mother Elizabeth Mipilanggurr during her childhood, Doreen began weaving in her early 20s. Jingarrarrabarra specialises in conical dilly bags (burlupurr), woven string bags and mats. She uses a range of natural fibres,  including pandanus, mirlarl (jungle vine/malaisia scandens), sedge grass and kurrajong. Unlike most West Arnhem weavers, she does not dye the fibres with natural pigments, preferring the subtly of the natural variations in colour and tone. She is renowned for her fine weave and intricate designs, which she attributes to learning from her mother. 

She is the Traditional Owner of the fish trap and confers approval to those artists who seek to produce these objects or depict the motif in their paintings. She is a cultural leader in her community, teaching younger generations of weavers and also regularly leads demonstrations and tours for visitors and tourists at the Djomi Museum and MAC. She also works closely with linguistics and academics who study Burarra language and Anbarra dialect.

Her works are held in important public and private collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

© the artist / art centre