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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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barkcloth sample

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Barkcloth sample with red-brown stripes in two shades on a plain background.

  • Date

    • 18thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 30.5 centimetres
    • Width: 18 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Register 1952
    (Referring to the whole Oc1952,01 series): A series of barkcloth specimens mostly from Hawaii, acquired in 1861 by the V & A Museum for £7-10-0. The V & A register entry states "cloth made of the inner bark of the 'lace bark tree' and stamped with various patterns ... manufactured by the natives of the South Sea Islands and and collected between the years 1779 and 1789". They were apparently believed to have been collected by Capt. Cook and some pieces correspond closely to those in the volume of Cook tapas; but Cook was killed in February, 1779.'

    In some V&A numbers the date 1860 has been altered in pencil to 1861.


  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • 7286-1860 (V&A number)
Register 1952
Barkcloth with red-brown stripes in two shades on a white ground.

Register 1952 Barkcloth with red-brown stripes in two shades on a white ground.

Image description



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Object reference number: EOC30884

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