Tapa Cloth
On View In:
Gallery 256
Artist:   Artist Unknown  
Title:   Tapa Cloth  
Date:   1800-1825  
Medium:   Bark, pigment  
Dimensions:   30 13/16 x 62 in. (78.26 x 157.48 cm)  
Credit Line:   The Paul C. Johnson, Jr. Fund  
Location:   Gallery 256  

Barkcloth (tapa) was made throughout Oceania and used in the same context as woven fabric. To make the cloth, the inner bark of a mulberry tree was harvested, soaked, and beaten with a short club. Historically, bold hand-painted patterns were common on Hawaiian tapa, but by the nineteenth century decoration had moved toward smaller, more elaborate designs. New metal tools, introduced after Euro-American contact, made it possible for Hawaiian artists to create intricate bamboo dye stamps. The artist of this barkcloth arranged hundreds of individual impressions in a linear pattern around the border of the cloth.

Object Description  
Classification:   Textiles  
Physical Description:   triangular fragment decorated with rust-red and dark brown geometric stamps in 4 repeated rows on 2 sides; beige ground  
Creation Place:   Oceania, United States, , Hawaii,  
Accession #:   2000.25.2  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts