Hand-crafted 'Gunga' Earrings by Gawiŋu Dalparri (1911-23)
Hand-crafted earrings created by Gawiŋu Dalparri from the Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre, Yirrkala (North East Arnhem Land).
The jewellery pieces are woven from gunga (Pandanus spiralis). The spiky pandanus leaves are sometimes difficult to harvest, followed by the careful task of flaying the leaves before hanging them to dry.
Only the few central leaves of the palm growing from the core which have not bent are used. These can be ten or twenty feet high so a special crook known as a Galpuŋaniny must be used to work these out of the growing tree. The pandanus (known as Gunga- Pandanus Yirrkalaensis) recovers completely but cannot be reharvested for some months.
This is then dyed using natural dyes made from the bulbs, roots or bark of various woodland plants. The string is made from the bark of plants such as Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus), Paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) and Banyan (Ficus virens).
Materials: Gunga (Pandanus spiralis) natural dyes, and sterling silver
Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.1 cm each