Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability

CAS Anthropology Collections Database

Catalog Number

CAS 1984-0008-0143   CAS 1984-0008-0143; Tapa cloth
Category Textiles
Object Name Tapa cloth
Culture Polynesian: Samoan
Global Region Oceania
Country Samoa
State/Prov./Dist. unknown
Other Geographic Data unknown
Maker's Name Unknown
Date of Manufacture 1920s
Collection Name Rollo Beck Collection (South Pacific)
Materials Mulberry bark; Dyes
Description Large rectangular tapa cloth made from strips of mulberry bark that have been beaten into thin sheets that are overlapped to form a larger cloth, which is then painted overall with designs and cut into smaller sections such as this example; Design field is divided into 5 narrow columns of rectangular blocks alternating with 4 wide columns of 6 rectangular blocks; Blocks in end and center narrow columns are alternately brown or black, while the blocks in remaining two narrow columns are all painted with single black diamond shapes, forming the trunks of palm trees (?), whose leaves are depicted in the flanking columns of wider blocks, also including a coconut (?) in alternating blocks; Wide band along two ends of the cloth are undecorated except for series of wide and widely spaced brown diagonal lines, and the numbers "6" through "10" along one end, indicating the measurements from the original large cloth from which this example was cut.
Dimensions (cm) Width = ca. 252.0, Length = ca. 208.0