Nice shot of PNG women carrying bilums

What is a Bilum?

Bilums are handwoven bags that have been crafted and used for hundreds of years by Papua New Guineans. The name comes from a term for womb and they are still used to carry babies. However they are not just for small children, bilums are used for precious belongings, food, harvested materials and firewood.

Traditionally they were made from the bark of a particular tree. Strips of bark would be twisted round with rope to form the bag. However nowadays more materials are used, including different yarns.

This has led to a profusion of styles and colours. Different regions of PNG have different styles in making bilums and you can often tell someone’s home region from the pattern in their bilums.

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