Tapa barkcloth

Tapa barkcloth. Collected in West New Britain but migrated from Collingwood Bay. Oro province. PNG. Very good condition (probably half of the original size, two of the four panels). Circa 1950/60's. Cm. 90 x 91 (2'11" x 3'). Tapa such as this are worn by women around the waist.
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 could only leave her house by crawling, hidden under tapa covers and guided by another woman. Price on request.

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