World Cultures, Pacific

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Tapa cloth

World Cultures

Object connections:

Collection World Cultures, Pacific
User collections ESH6067WritingEmpire by ESH6067WritingEmpire
Gallery locationPacific Encounters Gallery (Floor plans)
PeopleProvenance: Williams, John

Object details:

Object ID ZBA5494
Description A large length of tapa or bark cloth painted in dark brown and black with an elaborate design including triangular trochus shell patterns and symbols with legs representing centipedes. The design is particularly fine and unusual with a grooved cloth distinctive to central Polynesia. Primarily painted in a Niuean style, there are also suggestions of Samoan and Rarotongan decoration; a reflection of the cultural influences that the missionary period brought to Niue in the early 19th century. Written in one corner of the back: 'tapoi'. This was sent by John Williams (1769-1839) to his sister, collected during his missionary work in the Pacific. It was formerly in the collections of the London Missionary Society.
Date made 1834

Place made Pacific Ocean
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials bark
Measurements Overall: 3630 mm x 2200 mm
  • Tapa cloth (ZBA5494)
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