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Piti (Collecting bowl)

Roma Butler
Muur-muurpa ~ Desert Bloodwood
39 x 46 x 77 cm
Maruku Arts


The piti or wooden bowl is a woman’s traditional carrying vessel for food and water. Together with a wana or mulga wood digging stick and a wira, a smaller version of the piti used to scoop soil or ladle water, it was used by women hunting for witchetty grubs, honey ants or small burrowing animals and their eggs. After loosening the soil with a wana it was shovelled aside from the hole with the wira and the bounty carried home in the piti. (Nowadays a crow bar, a short handled shovel and a billy can are the women’s hunting tools). The piti was also used for carrying an immense variety of other desert seeds and fruits. A mangu or head-ring, was used to cushion the bowl as the women carried it on their heads to collect food and water. It is made of spun hair and emu feathers or coiled grasses. Mrs. Butler has created a piti that reveals the colours and structures of the wood. The inside of this piti shows her skilled chisel work.

Desert Mob is presented annually in Mparntwe | Alice Springs on Arrernte Country.

On behalf of Desart’s staff and art centre members, the Executive Committee humbly and respectfully acknowledge the Arrernte Apmereke Artweye (Traditional Owners) and Kwertengerle (Traditional Managers) of Mparntwe.


Desart respectfully advises Aboriginal readers that this website may contain names, images and artworks of people who have passed away.