Barkcloth (Siapo)

43.24 DP Temp 2533


Barkcloth, commonly known as 'tapa' in Oceania, is made from the inner bark of trees such as the paper mulberry and breadfruit tree. It is usually made by women. In the past people used barkcloth for practical purposes such as clothing and bed sheets as well as ceremonial wrapping of sacred objects and people. It is, and in some places, remains, an extremely important exchange item. This sheet of barkcloth bears a geometric design in orange/ brown and dark brown, based on rectangles, diagonals and spots, handpainted over a rubbed design in the same colours. A section at one end has been left plain with rough dark brown and red/brown diagonal lines.