South Pacific – Fiji/Tonga Handmade Tapa Paper
Just $31.69 per 24″X36″ sheet
Bark cloth, or tapa, has been produced throughout the islands of the South Pacific–in both Polynesia and Melanesia. The people of Tonga, Fiji, and other islands have made bark cloth in distinctive styles for both functional and ceremonial purposes. The cloth has played important roles in weddings, funerals, and events associated with royalty. Various collections of Tapa paper and Tapa painting and designs collected by missionaries and navigators such as Capt. J. Cook during the 1700s hundred, that are exhibited in museums worldwide today.
Most commonly the bark of the paper mulberry or breadfruit tree is used. The bark is stripped from a 3 to 4-year old saplings, and the white inner layers are peeled off for the tapa. These narrow strips are soaked in water until softened; then they are pounded with grooved mallets, which spreads the bark into increasingly wider strips until they are about ten inches wide. The edges are then overlapped and glued with manioc root juice, breadfruit, or arrowroot starch to make wide sheets.
Examples of Art made with Tapa Bark Paper