Pirlarla Jukurrpa (Dogwood Tree Bean Dreaming)

This ‘pirlarla’ (dogwood tree bean) Dreaming begins near Yumurrpa (a waterhole approximately 140km northwest of Yuendumu) and travels west. It goes to the country near the Yiningnarra range, south of Rabbit Flat and several hundred kilometers northwest of Yuendumu. There, women of the Nakamarra and Napurrula subsections travelled and collected ‘pirlarla.’ The ‘kirda’ (owners) of this Jukurrpa are Jakamarra/Jupurrurla men and Nakamarra/Napurrurla women. 

‘Pirlarla’ are called ‘bush beans.’ They are the long seed pods of the ‘wakirlpirri’ (dogwood [Acacia coriacea] tree), which grows on the sides of creek beds and near ‘mulga’ trees. When it gets hot, women collect the ‘pirlarla’ and cook them on the fire. They then crack them open and eat the ‘ngurlu’ (seeds) inside. The seeds can be ground up and eaten. They can also be dried, ground up, and mixed with water in a ‘parraja’ (coolamon). Women squeeze a liquid called ‘ngungkarli’ or ‘yinjirrpi’ from them, which is sweet and good to drink.

In contemporary Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography can be used to represent the Jukurrpa, particular sites, and other elements. Paintings of the ‘Pirlarla Jukurrpa’ often include designs that are painted onto women’s bodies during their Yawulyu ceremonies. Long sinuous lines represent the ‘pirlarla’ (bush beans), while round circles represent the ‘wakirlpirri’ (dogwood trees) that they grow on. Shorter curved lines can represent small ‘pirlarla.’