Tapa Cloth

The manufacture of tapa cloth is one of the most distinctive products of the cultures of the Pacific islands.As such tapa identifying and documentation began as early as 1787 when a book by Alexander Shaw was published with samples collected on Captain Cook pacific voyages.Tapa is made from the inner bark of certain trees. The trees usually have other purposes so bark removal has to be done carefully so as not to damage the tree. After the bark pieces are removed they get pounded to flatten to sheets which are then joined to form large panels. The design is applied by rubbing the tapa against a wood panel carved in relief.Paint is sometimes applied later, although not on this example. Tapa cloth usage can be both utilitarian and ceremonial.Their design, individual to each island, provide a marker of the special identity.

Circa: 19th century

Origin: Samoa

Material: pounded bark cloth

Condition: One straight edge suggests that this was originally a larger piece

Dimensions: 67" x 42"

Inventory number: TX2683



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Inventory #: TX2683 Categories: ,

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