Collingwood Bay tapa

Tapa barkcloth. Collingwood Bay. Coast south of Wanegela. Oro province. PNG. Very good condition. Circa 1960.
Cm. 147 x 74 (4'10" x 2'5"). Ex Michael Hamson.
The tapa from this area was painted by women and prepared using the bark of the Broussonetia, cultivated near the dwellings. Depending on size, the pieces were used as men’ s or women’ s clothing, shawls or blankets. They constituted an important part of the gifts exchanged during marriages. The abstract and geometric patterns were drawn in black, then ornamented with red after the former had dried. The names of the patterns were often associated with plants, animals, or family or clan totems. During the mourning period following a husband’ s death, the widow clould only leave her house by crawling, hidden under tapa covers and guided by another woman.
Tapa such asthis one are worn by women around the waist or used as a form of traditional currency. The design of such pieces are for individual families and are eased down from mother to daughter. Price on request.

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