Bark cloth

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Object detail

Bark cloth, light coloured, with fringed edge or tassles, with no decoration. The cloth is very long and may indicate its use as a mat.
Production date
Production place
L14350 x W475mm
Media/Materials description
Bark cloth
History and use
Bark Cloth or tapa in Vanuatu is known as TAPA when it is void of motifs. In Eromanga, tapa is known as nemasitse, which means 'beaten cloth'.

Tapa, ngatu, kapa, masi, lepau and siapo are names used across the Pacific for barkcloth. Each place and people has their own unique way for making their barkcloth. Some are made by women but in some place men also make bark cloth.

The use of tapa is also a way for people from the Pacific Islands diaspora to continue their alignment and identification with island practices.

Tapa can be used in everyday life as a wall divider, curtain, tablecloth, decorative wall hanging, place mat, blanket or can be worn in a style of an apron, cape, poncho, skirt, hat and bags.

Tapa is also used for special ceremonies like births, initiations, deaths and marriages. It is also used during celebrations at special family gatherings like homecomings, feasting, at community meetings, and graduations. Many Islanders consider tapa an important element in the practice of gift giving.
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