Kunmadj (Dillybags)

Kun-madj is the Kuninjku term for large woven collecting baskets, known as dillybags. They are often made from the burney vine (Malaisia scandens), a strong, pliable plant that grows along the ground and into the canopy of monsoon vine thickets. The baskets are used to collect a variety of heavy foods, such as fish caught in conical fish traps or a good harvest of yams. As well as being of practical use, dillybags are of cultural significance to Arnhem Land people. Dillybags are totemic objects and they are associated with particular sites in the landscape.

“My father used to talk at me, tell me about for dillybag, when the old people used to go and dig for bush potato and put some in that dillybag. He lives under the water, when tide goes out he floats and when the tide comes in, his got some strings that holding that dillybag under the water. It’s for our sacred site, its about billabong and it’s shaped like a dillybag.” – Elizabeth Kala Kala