Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Barkcloth Clothing

On the way back from Istanbul we stopped off for a brief orgy of museums and galleries in London. It was a feast, and I am still recovering;  one of my favourite shows was at the British Museum, called Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing." In the islands of the Pacific, cloth made from the inner bark of trees is a distinctive art tradition. Probably brought to the region at least 5,000 years ago by some of the first human settlers, its designs reflect the histories of each island group and the creativity of the makers. Spanning the region from New Guinea in the west to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the east, "[from the British Museum website]. I love the strong colour and pattern, some of the clothes reminded me of the paper dresses we wore in the '60's.

In my jet lagged state I have said that this exhibition was at The V & A, and thanks to a friend [thanks Margaret!] who gently pointed out that it was at the British Museum ,I've fixed the links and the text. Sorry about that.

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Barkcloth, masi kesa, The multiple bands of motifs around the centre of this cloth were applied using stencils. This technique is unique to Fiji. Fijian cloths featuring the elongated diamond motif interspersed with linear patterns have been made since the early decades of the 1800s. [text from the British Museum website]


Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Waist garment, salatasi. In Futuna in Western Polynesia, waist garments known as salatasi, sashes and turbans were finely decorated with geometric patterns using a pen made from coconut fond, a technique considered ancient and distinctively Futunan. radiating triangles filled with stepped patterns are typical of salatasi, but the trio of spikes surrounded with black add a strikingly unique element to this cloth made in 1840s. [text from the British Museum website]

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

Shifting patterns, Pacific barkcloth clothing. British Museum, 2015

This is a women's skirt; cloths several meters in length were layered and gathered around the waist to create the full skirts of hawaiian women. Red plant dyes known as 'ula'ula were widely used to decorate barkcloth in Hawaii. Linear patterns were pressed into the cloth using multi-pronged liners of wood or bamboo, dipped in dye. [early 1800s, text from the British Museum web site]


6 comments:

  1. Love the post! Thanks for sharing this awe -inspiring work!

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    Replies
    1. So glad you loved the work too Sue, it's inspiring.

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  2. Wow -- these are amazing! Thank you for sharing them with us.

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    1. A pleasure I need orange, I just fell across this exhibition and loved it.

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