Material Approaches to Polynesian Barkcloth

Cloth, Collections, Communities

Edited by Frances Lennard & Andy Mills | Forthcoming

Material Approaches to Polynesian Barkcloth

Cloth, Collections, Communities

Edited by Frances Lennard & Andy Mills | Forthcoming

ISBN: 9789088909719

Imprint: Sidestone Press Academics | Format: 182x257mm | ca. 330 pp. | Language: English | 143 illus. (fc) | Keywords: barkcloth; tapa; Polynesia; fibres; colourants; Pacific art; conservation; ethnobotany; material culture; collecting | download cover

Publication date: 23-12-2020

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  • Bookinfo

    ISBN: 9789088909719

    Imprint: Sidestone Press Academics | Format: 182x257mm | ca. 330 pp. | Language: English | 143 illus. (fc) | Keywords: barkcloth; tapa; Polynesia; fibres; colourants; Pacific art; conservation; ethnobotany; material culture; collecting | download cover

    Publication date: 23-12-2020

We will plant a tree for each order containing a paperback or hardback book via OneTreePlanted.org.

Barkcloth or tapa, a cloth made from the inner bark of trees, was widely used in place of woven cloth in the Pacific islands until the 19th century. A ubiquitous material, it was integral to the lives of islanders and used for clothing, furnishings and ritual artefacts. Material Approaches to Polynesian Barkcloth takes a new approach to the study of the history of this region through its barkcloth heritage, focusing on the plants themselves and surviving objects in historic collections. This object-focused approach has filled gaps in our understanding of the production and use of this material through an investigation of this unique fabric’s physical properties, transformation during manufacture and the regional history of its development in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The book is the outcome of a research project which focused on three important collections of barkcloth at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. It also looks more widely at the value of barkcloth artefacts in museum collections for enhancing both contemporary practice and a wider appreciation of this remarkable fabric. The contributors include academics, curators, conservators and makers of barkcloth from Oceania and beyond, in an interdisciplinary study which draws together insights from object-based and textual reseach, fieldwork and tapa making, and information on the plants used to make fibres and colourants.

This book will be of interest to tapa makers, museum professionals including curators and conservators; academics and students in the fields of anthropology, museum studies and conservation; museum visitors and anyone interested in finding out more about barkcloth.

Acknowledgements
Image credits
Biographies

Introduction
Frances Lennard

Part I: Tapa as Fabric: Bast and Colourants

The procurement, cultural value and fabric characteristics of Polynesian tapa species
Andy Mills

Plant profile 1. Paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera
Plant profile 2. Breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis
Mark Nesbitt

Technical variation in historical Polynesian tapa manufacture
Andy Mills

Breadfruit tapa: not always second best
Michele Austin Dennehy, Jean Chapman Mason, Adrienne L. Kaeppler

Plant profile 3. Pacific banyan, Ficus prolixa
Plant profile 4. Māmaki, Pipturus albidus
Mark Nesbitt

A new perspective on understanding Hawaiian kapa-making
Lisa Schattenburg-Raymond

Polynesian tapa colourants
Andy Mills, Taoi Nooroa, Allan Tuara

Plant profile 5. Beach hibiscus, Sea hibiscus, Hibiscus tiliaceus
Plant profile 6. ‘Ākia, Wikstroemia uva-ursi
Mark Nesbitt

Hawaiian dyes and kapa pigments: a modern perspective and brief analysis of the historic record
Lisa Schattenburg-Raymond

Part II: Understanding Tapa in Time and Place

Towards a regional chronology of Polynesian barkcloth manufacture
Andy Mills

Living with tapa and the social life of ritual objects
Adrienne L. Kaeppler

Plant profile 7. ‘Oloa, Neraudia melastomifolia
Plant profile 8. Polynesian arrowroot, Tacca leontopetaloides
Mark Nesbitt

West Polynesian dyes and decorations as cultural signatures
Adrienne L. Kaeppler

‘A classification of Tongan ngatu’: change and stability in Tongan barkcloth forms since 1963
Billie Lythberg

White for purity, brown for beautiful like us and black because it is awesome
Fanny Wonu Veys

Plant profile 9. Koka, Bischofia javanica
Plant profile 10. Candlenut, Aleurites moluccana
Mark Nesbitt

Barkcloth from the islands of Wallis (‘Uvea) and Futuna
Hélène Guiot

Barkcloth in the Māori world
Patricia Te Arapo Wallace

‘Ahu Sistas: reclaiming history, telling our stories
Pauline Reynolds, Jean Clarkson

Plant profile 11. Turmeric, Curcuma longa
Plant profile 12. Noni, Morinda citrifolia
Mark Nesbitt

‘Tataki ʻe he Leá: Guided Language’
Tui Emma Gillies, Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows

Part III: Tapa in Collections and the Community

The Hunterian’s Polynesian barkcloth collection
Andy Mills

From maker to museum: Polynesian barkcloth at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Mark Nesbitt, Brittany Curtis, Andy Mills

Plant profile 13. Mati, Ficus tinctoria
Plant profile 14. Tou, Cordia subcordata
Plant profile 15. Ironwood, Casuarina equisetifolia
Mark Nesbitt

Smithsonian Institution barkcloth collections
Adrienne L. Kaeppler

‘Holomua ka hana kapa’: a symposium on caring for kapa and kapa makers at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, December 2017
Alice Christophe

Fiji masi and the Auckland Museum Pacific Collection Access Project
Fuli Pereira, Leone Samu-Tui

Plant profile 16. Malay apple, Syzygium malaccense
Plant profile 17. Red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle
Mark Nesbitt

Shown to full advantage: conservation and mounting of barkcloth for display in the ‘Shifting Patterns: Pacific Barkcloth Clothing’ exhibition at the British Museum
Monique Pullan

Conservation as part of ‘Situating Pacific Barkcloth in Time and Place’: improving preservation, enhancing access and sharing knowledge
Frances Lennard, Reggie Meredith Fitiao, Su’a Tupuola Uilisone Fitiao, Ruby Antonowicz-Behnan, Beth Knight

Afterword: Polynesian barkcloth past, present, future
Mark Nesbitt, Frances Lennard and Andy Mills

Bibliography

Prof. Frances Lennard

Frances Lennard is Professor of Textile Conservation at the University of Glasgow and was director of the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History until 2020. Her research interests focus on conservation approaches and methodologies and she is particularly interested in interdisciplinary research. She is the co-editor of Tapestry Conservation: Principles and Practice, with Maria Hayward and Textile Conservation: Advances in Practice, with Patricia Ewer. She was Principal Investigator of the research project, Situating Pacific Barkcloth in Time and Place.

read more

Dr. Andy Mills

Andy Mills is curator for Archaeology and World Cultures at The Hunterian. He is a world art historian, ethnohistorian and anthropologist, with specialist interests in Oceanic art, collections provenance, missionary collecting, textiles, and arms and armour, among other things; he is the co-editor, with Tom Crowley, of Weapons, Culture and the Anthropology Museum. During the project Situating Pacific Barkcloth in Time and Place, Andy’s research focused on historical change in the arts of Polynesian barkcloth, analysing the materials and processes of tapa-making, and exploring the histories of barkcloth in the world’s museums.

read more

Abstract:

Barkcloth or tapa, a cloth made from the inner bark of trees, was widely used in place of woven cloth in the Pacific islands until the 19th century. A ubiquitous material, it was integral to the lives of islanders and used for clothing, furnishings and ritual artefacts. Material Approaches to Polynesian Barkcloth takes a new approach to the study of the history of this region through its barkcloth heritage, focusing on the plants themselves and surviving objects in historic collections. This object-focused approach has filled gaps in our understanding of the production and use of this material through an investigation of this unique fabric’s physical properties, transformation during manufacture and the regional history of its development in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The book is the outcome of a research project which focused on three important collections of barkcloth at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. It also looks more widely at the value of barkcloth artefacts in museum collections for enhancing both contemporary practice and a wider appreciation of this remarkable fabric. The contributors include academics, curators, conservators and makers of barkcloth from Oceania and beyond, in an interdisciplinary study which draws together insights from object-based and textual reseach, fieldwork and tapa making, and information on the plants used to make fibres and colourants.

This book will be of interest to tapa makers, museum professionals including curators and conservators; academics and students in the fields of anthropology, museum studies and conservation; museum visitors and anyone interested in finding out more about barkcloth.

Contents

Acknowledgements
Image credits
Biographies

Introduction
Frances Lennard

Part I: Tapa as Fabric: Bast and Colourants

The procurement, cultural value and fabric characteristics of Polynesian tapa species
Andy Mills

Plant profile 1. Paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera
Plant profile 2. Breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis
Mark Nesbitt

Technical variation in historical Polynesian tapa manufacture
Andy Mills

Breadfruit tapa: not always second best
Michele Austin Dennehy, Jean Chapman Mason, Adrienne L. Kaeppler

Plant profile 3. Pacific banyan, Ficus prolixa
Plant profile 4. Māmaki, Pipturus albidus
Mark Nesbitt

A new perspective on understanding Hawaiian kapa-making
Lisa Schattenburg-Raymond

Polynesian tapa colourants
Andy Mills, Taoi Nooroa, Allan Tuara

Plant profile 5. Beach hibiscus, Sea hibiscus, Hibiscus tiliaceus
Plant profile 6. ‘Ākia, Wikstroemia uva-ursi
Mark Nesbitt

Hawaiian dyes and kapa pigments: a modern perspective and brief analysis of the historic record
Lisa Schattenburg-Raymond

Part II: Understanding Tapa in Time and Place

Towards a regional chronology of Polynesian barkcloth manufacture
Andy Mills

Living with tapa and the social life of ritual objects
Adrienne L. Kaeppler

Plant profile 7. ‘Oloa, Neraudia melastomifolia
Plant profile 8. Polynesian arrowroot, Tacca leontopetaloides
Mark Nesbitt

West Polynesian dyes and decorations as cultural signatures
Adrienne L. Kaeppler

‘A classification of Tongan ngatu’: change and stability in Tongan barkcloth forms since 1963
Billie Lythberg

White for purity, brown for beautiful like us and black because it is awesome
Fanny Wonu Veys

Plant profile 9. Koka, Bischofia javanica
Plant profile 10. Candlenut, Aleurites moluccana
Mark Nesbitt

Barkcloth from the islands of Wallis (‘Uvea) and Futuna
Hélène Guiot

Barkcloth in the Māori world
Patricia Te Arapo Wallace

‘Ahu Sistas: reclaiming history, telling our stories
Pauline Reynolds, Jean Clarkson

Plant profile 11. Turmeric, Curcuma longa
Plant profile 12. Noni, Morinda citrifolia
Mark Nesbitt

‘Tataki ʻe he Leá: Guided Language’
Tui Emma Gillies, Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows

Part III: Tapa in Collections and the Community

The Hunterian’s Polynesian barkcloth collection
Andy Mills

From maker to museum: Polynesian barkcloth at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Mark Nesbitt, Brittany Curtis, Andy Mills

Plant profile 13. Mati, Ficus tinctoria
Plant profile 14. Tou, Cordia subcordata
Plant profile 15. Ironwood, Casuarina equisetifolia
Mark Nesbitt

Smithsonian Institution barkcloth collections
Adrienne L. Kaeppler

‘Holomua ka hana kapa’: a symposium on caring for kapa and kapa makers at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, December 2017
Alice Christophe

Fiji masi and the Auckland Museum Pacific Collection Access Project
Fuli Pereira, Leone Samu-Tui

Plant profile 16. Malay apple, Syzygium malaccense
Plant profile 17. Red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle
Mark Nesbitt

Shown to full advantage: conservation and mounting of barkcloth for display in the ‘Shifting Patterns: Pacific Barkcloth Clothing’ exhibition at the British Museum
Monique Pullan

Conservation as part of ‘Situating Pacific Barkcloth in Time and Place’: improving preservation, enhancing access and sharing knowledge
Frances Lennard, Reggie Meredith Fitiao, Su’a Tupuola Uilisone Fitiao, Ruby Antonowicz-Behnan, Beth Knight

Afterword: Polynesian barkcloth past, present, future
Mark Nesbitt, Frances Lennard and Andy Mills

Bibliography

Prof. Frances Lennard

Frances Lennard is Professor of Textile Conservation at the University of Glasgow and was director of the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History until 2020. Her research interests focus on conservation approaches and methodologies and she is particularly interested in interdisciplinary research. She is the co-editor of Tapestry Conservation: Principles and Practice, with Maria Hayward and Textile Conservation: Advances in Practice, with Patricia Ewer. She was Principal Investigator of the research project, Situating Pacific Barkcloth in Time and Place.

read more

Dr. Andy Mills

Andy Mills is curator for Archaeology and World Cultures at The Hunterian. He is a world art historian, ethnohistorian and anthropologist, with specialist interests in Oceanic art, collections provenance, missionary collecting, textiles, and arms and armour, among other things; he is the co-editor, with Tom Crowley, of Weapons, Culture and the Anthropology Museum. During the project Situating Pacific Barkcloth in Time and Place, Andy’s research focused on historical change in the arts of Polynesian barkcloth, analysing the materials and processes of tapa-making, and exploring the histories of barkcloth in the world’s museums.

read more










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