A bilum is a type of bag from Papua New Guinea. Bilums are made to be very strong and flexible, and can expand to many times their size, depending on what the bilum is holding.
This bilum is from Goroka, in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. It is made from ‘bush rope’, twisted together in a series of loops.
Bilums are very popular for everyday use in Papua New Guinea. Some bilums are made of ‘bush rope’ and cuscus fur. (A cuscus is a marsupial, and looks similar to a possum.) Other bilums are made of wool and feature brightly coloured designs and patterns. Some women carry their bilum with the strap across their forehead and the bag slung down their back. This method keeps their back straight and their hands free to do other things. Some people use their bilum to hold babies, with the bag hung from a tree branch, swinging in the breeze. Bilums make good beds for babies.