40.5cm x 3.5cm
Biḻma are clapsticks which are a sacred instrument. They can be used to accompany yiḏaki (didjeridu) or in deep ceremony in accompaniment of voice alone or in some circumstances by themselves. They can be constituted by any two objects struck together and it is not unusual to see ceremonial men clapping two thongs together to hold the rythym of Manikay (sacred song) and Buŋgul (sacred dance). People can pick up any bit of discarded timber and create a sound. But the proper version of Biḻma is made from special wood. The most resonant of these is Botj, Maypiny known in English as Ironwood Erythropleum chlorostachyum. It is incredibly dense, toxic to termites and grows within the stringybark forest as an attractive small tree. The heartwood is a rich red brown. Other woods sometimes used for biḻma are Dhurrtji (Black Wattle) and Lanapu (Cypress Pine) and Gaḏayka (Stringybark).
Biḻma act the same way that Church bells do in the old days. If you hear them they call you to them. this is how community announcements are presaged and order restored in times of communal friction. They relate to the beat of the heart.