Bilum Bags

We sit side by side, rolling thread over thighs. Mothers, sisters, daughters, ancestors.” 

At K&US,ware proud to b eable to offer the unique Bilum bags to our customers. The beautiful and unique bags have been produced by women from Papua New Guinea who have gained strength and financial independence in the process. 

The traditional Bilums originate from Papua New Guinea and are usually made by women in small communities. Every bag embodies a special storytelling tradition that is woven into the fabric and each design symbolises an important element of the weaver's daily life: be it difficulties or achievements. 
Each Bilum bag is unique, a one-of-a-kind work of art particular to the female weaver. The beautiful natural fibres were traditionally created from surrounding vegetation, such as the turmeric plant. Today, the women also work with yarn and nylon. Their woven geometrical patterns are culturally significant talismans that speak of protection and safetyBilum literally translates to ‘womb’ and the bags also function as a baby carrier.The Bilum plays a very important part in the relationships between mothers and daughters and the weaving skills are handed down through the generations. 

Apart from their everyday usage, the bags can be exchanged or given to female friends as gifts during traditional rituals or ceremonies that celebrate significant events in every woman’s life, such as puberty or motherhood. Through different patterns, Bilums tell stories of joy, pain, transition – and possibly the difficulties of old age. 

The UN has tirelessly campaigned to support the Bilum weavers and their fight against the unequal ways society treats women and girls. The women of Papua New Guinea urgently need to achieve gender equality and they still lack basic access to sexual and reproductive health. The production of Bilum bags has become a successful way to increase the women's income and the whole project symbolisecommunity, respect and hope.  

Until recently, the commercial and artistic value of the bags has remained relatively hidden. However, the popularity is steadily growing, and they have been spotted in fashion magazines as well as on the red carpet. A fair partnership that will open opportunities for and bring funds to the women of Papua New Guinea.