Bark cloth

Donated to RAMM by the Devon & Exeter Institution. Entry in museum register January 1872 states “13 pieces of tapa cloth. Otaheite. Presented by Captain Bond RN.”
Length 1750 x width = 1270mm

Anne D’Alleva, 1994
“Rectangular piece of off-white barkcloth, showing yellow pigment in areas, originally yellow color. Piece of fine, black barkcloth overlaid in centre. This with scissor-cut, zigzag and indented borders on three sides. Two rectangular windows cut out of this, set in v-shape in centre, showing red barkcloth underneath. The red barkcloth with rows of diamond-shaped cutouts. The border of the white cloth elaborated with ruled and painted red triangles, and small red single and double fern prints. On long edge of black overlay, a square and a triangle of red dentate edge barkcloth underlaid; one short edge has a small triangular and a rectangular piece. Beater marks on all cloth 11 grooves/cm.
Possibly an ‘ahu-faria, a kind of cape worn around the shoulders (see Ellis 1831:182). Stylistically related to a barkcloth in the British Museum, collected by the Providence’s midshipman, Matthew Flinders, and to the mourning dress cape (E1778b).”
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Textiles and equipment
Common Name
bark cloth
Simple Name
Full Name
barkcloth (ahu-fara)
whole length 1750 mm; whole W 1270 mm
Production Year High
Production County
Tahiti, Society Islands
Production Country
French Polynesia (Overseas Collectivity of France)
Production Area Region
Production Continent
Family Group

bark; pigment
Collection Area Region
Collection Continent

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