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 Post subject: Papua New Guinea Bilums
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 3:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:27 am
Posts: 124
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I thought I would share a collection of PNG bilums collected in the early 80's. These were made out of the bast fibers from the wild tulip tree, although some may be from bark of the rosewood or sea hybiscus tree. The fashion twine by soaking the bark for many months( up to 10)until the fiber breaks down. When dried, they roll the residue into twing by rolling with their hands against their thighs.

As to dyes, they use stone rubbing, various sea shells (red), orchid bark,roots and grasses. The purple that you see on the wedding Bilum may come from the miracle of modern technology- carbon paper, which was a big hit in PNG as the purple dyes as in other cultures (precolombian) weere always a bitch to make.

The Wedding Bilum measures 52" x 37" (not counting the strap) and is very rare. The shoulder pad measures20" x 31". Bilum 1 is 20" x 13". Bilum 2 is 26" x 19". Bilums 3 and 4 are approximateluy 12" x 9".

A modern day bilum is usually fashioned from commercial wool or acrylic.

Bill
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Attachments:
Wedding Bilum-detail.jpg
Wedding Bilum-detail.jpg [ 146.92 KiB | Viewed 4496 times ]
Bilum 1.jpg
Bilum 1.jpg [ 111.42 KiB | Viewed 4496 times ]
Bilum 2.jpg
Bilum 2.jpg [ 109.82 KiB | Viewed 4496 times ]
Bilum 3.jpg
Bilum 3.jpg [ 91.36 KiB | Viewed 4496 times ]


Last edited by Bill Hornaday on Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 3:11 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:27 am
Posts: 124
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I forgot one of my favorites , which is a shoulder pad, woven by the same method, which they use when carrying loads on their backs.

Bill


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Bilum Shoulder pad.jpg
Bilum Shoulder pad.jpg [ 126.28 KiB | Viewed 4493 times ]
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 2:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
I am very attracted by these bilums, Bill. They also rang a bell in my memory and, although I like to keep any selling on the 'tribal textile shopping...' thread I am putting a link here to a thread http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=194 from July 2004 on that forum. This includes a link to a site where a couple of Australians are trying to support the production of local crafts including bilums in PNG. On their home page there is a photo of an exhibition of bilums in Canberra as well as some current ones. Good to know that some are still being made from the traditional bast fibres.

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 11:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:27 am
Posts: 124
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I thought I would add that they use burnt shells as a mordant.

Bill


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