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The mission of the San Mateo County Historical Association is to inspire wonder and discovery
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Object Record

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Catalog Number 2003.074.002
Description Tapa Cloth, n.d. Natural fiber blanket comprised of large sections of plant material that has been soaked in liquid (water?) and pounded together. Light tan colored ground has been painted light brown in sections and has dark brown writing. Dark brown lines divide the piece into 20 squares or blocks divided into five columns of four blocks each. The first column of 19"x19" squares are painted brown with alternating light colored diagonal lines or circles on every other block. Diagonal lines appear to have capital letters: "VAHAAKOLO" and circles have a leaf and plus-sign motif. At the top of all four blocks are two dark brown circles approximately 2.5" in diameter. The second column is lighter in color and is comprised of 12" x 19" blocks with dark brown line drawings inside that include plus-signs, x's, stars, circles, squares, diamonds and zigzags. While all four are similar, the design varies slightly in each one. The third column has large 19" x 19" blocks with the two 2.5" diameter dark brown circles at the top similar to the first column. Each of these blocks has a line drawing in the center, possibly of animals. The fourth column has 14" x 19" lighter colored brown blocks with two trees and a fence (? two parallel lines with a row of x's between them) on each block. The trees' bases are against column 5. The fifth column is comprised of unpainted 11" x 19" blocks with the numbers "21", "23", "22" and "21" written on each one from top to bottom. Numbers are separated with a single horizontal line overlaid with x's that looks similar to barbed wire.
Object Name Painting, Bark
Collection 3D - Art
Title Tapa Cloth, n.d.
Date n.d.
Creator Unknown
Role Artist
Inscription Text none
Notes "Tapa cloth (or simply tapa) is a barkcloth made in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, primarily in Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, but as far afield as Niue, Cook Islands, Futuna, Solomon Islands, Java, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea (particularly in Oro Province around Tufi) and Hawaii (where it is called kapa). In French Polynesia it has nearly disappeared, except for some villages in the Marquesas."
[ 06/15/2017]
Dimensions H-74.5 W-74 inches
Medium Textile
Search Terms Fabric
Subjects Art
Cloth prints