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Pacific art

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Aenkiya nuw (plaited rattan bag)

early 20th century
collected 1969


Unknown Artist


The 'aenkiya nuw' was carried by Wola men during dances and ceremonial exchanges, and was used to carry tobacco pipes and other accessories. It is plaited from fine strips of rattan, giving it a rigid form. The seams and
straps were sourced from old string bags obtained from female relatives. The netting required many hours of repair before it could be stitched to the woven sheet.

A new 'aenkiya nuw' took up to 11 hours to complete, and decorations might include an edging of pigs' tails, or lengths of plaited chain links, known as 'pubung'. This 'aenkiya nuw', collected by Stan Moriarty in 1969, has an exquisitely delicate surface with subtle nuances of colour and tone throughout the weave.

[Exhibition text for 'Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands', AGNSW, 2014]


Other Titles

Billum bag, carried by old men

Woven cane bag

Aenkiya nuw (Cane-bamboo bag)

Haeriya nuw (Cane-bamboo bag)

Tog nuw (Peeled-off bag)

Cultural origin

Wola people


early 20th century
collected 1969

Media category


Materials used

plaited split rattan, looped plant-fibre string strap and side seams


33.0 x 24.2 x 3.8 cm plaited bag; 54.0 x 7.5 cm strap :

0 - Whole, 33 x 24.2 x 3.8 cm, plaited bag, without strap

0 - Whole, 54 cm (21 1/4"), looped string strap

0 - Whole, 7.5 cm (2 15/16"), looped string strap


Purchased 1977


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 3 publications


Paul Sillitoe, Made in Niugini: Technology in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, 'Woven cane bag', pg. 260-262, London, 1988, 260-262, 292 (illus.). Detailed description of the construction of a Wola woven cane bag. NOTE: photographs on pg. 292 are of a typical woven cane bag, although not of as fine a quality as 254.1977

Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 49. H15

Natalie Wilson (Editor), Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Sydney, 2014, 135 (colour illus.), 163. 78