Explore highlights
Barkcloth strip


Length: 1738.500 cm
Width: 79.000 cm

Gift of Julius L. Brenchley

AOA 6615

Africa, Oceania, Americas

    Barkcloth strip

    From Fiji, Polynesia, about AD 1800-50

    Worn as a loin cloth

    Barkcloth, known by the Fijians as or masi, is made by felting bark, here the inner bark of paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera). This example has been decorated with a combination of free-hand painting, cut-out stencils and by being laid over a patterned block and rubbed with pigment.

    Strips of barkcloth were worn by men as loin cloths. This example is longer than average, and probably belonged to someone of high status. Large pieces of barkcloth were also used as gifts in ceremonies, a practice which has continued to a lesser extent into modern times.

    The collector Julius Brenchley (1816-73) was born in Maidstone, Kent. He visited Fiji in 1865, when he was a passenger on the South Seas cruise of HMS Curaçao.

    R. Neich and M. Pendergrast, Traditional Tapa textiles of t (London, Thames and Hudson, 1997)


    Browse or search over 4,000 highlights from the Museum collection

    Shop Online

    Word into Art, £16.99

    Word into Art, £16.99