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Lot No. 205


Oceania, Samoa: a large and rare piece of bark bast, called ‘tapa', imprinted and painted.


Oceania, Samoa: a large and rare piece of bark bast, called ‘tapa', imprinted and painted. - Tribal Art - Africa

Originally, fabric was unknown in Oceania. Spinning and weaving on looms was not practiced. Looms were only known in a few island groups in Micronesia (due to Indonesian influence) and on the small group of the Santa Cruz Islands (in the Solomon Islands). Thus clothing in Melanesia, in all of Polynesia, and in part in Micronesia, consisted exclusively in bark bast called ‘tapa’. Producing bark bast fabric demanded that the inner bark of the mulberry tree be peeled off in stripes from the tree stems and dipped in water until it became very soft. These tripes were then laid out overlapping one next to the other and the overlapping edges were then beaten with special ‘tapa beaters’ for as long a time as it took for the bark fibres to become ‘felted’ and create thereby a big conjoined bast bark surface. When the surfaces became large enough for their practical use, they were dried up and painted on the front or imprinted with simple matrices made of palm-leaf ribbing. From island group to island group, these differed. The ‘tapa’ bark bast fabrics were not only used for wrapover skirts as clothing but also as objects of value during bride price payments (as ‘primitive money’) as well as for other transactions, for the making of dance masks and for many other purposes. The present bark bast ‘tapa’ is unusually big and originated in Samoa, Polynesia (judging from its ‘Siapo tasina’ pattern). The light brown base-pattern was imprinted with the help of palm leaf matrices above which dark lines and circles were painted by hand. All in vegetable pigments. Some minor age-related damage (holes, tears). Length: c. 340 cm; width: c. 265 cm. First third of the 20th century. (ME)

Provenance:
Austrian Private Collection.

Lit.:
'Traditional Tapa Textiles of the Pacific' by R. Neich & M. Pendergrast, ill. p. 32.

Specialist: Erwin Melchardt Erwin Melchardt
+43-1-515 60-465

erwin.melchardt@dorotheum.at

09.06.2016 - 17:00

Starting bid:
EUR 800.-

Oceania, Samoa: a large and rare piece of bark bast, called ‘tapa', imprinted and painted.


Originally, fabric was unknown in Oceania. Spinning and weaving on looms was not practiced. Looms were only known in a few island groups in Micronesia (due to Indonesian influence) and on the small group of the Santa Cruz Islands (in the Solomon Islands). Thus clothing in Melanesia, in all of Polynesia, and in part in Micronesia, consisted exclusively in bark bast called ‘tapa’. Producing bark bast fabric demanded that the inner bark of the mulberry tree be peeled off in stripes from the tree stems and dipped in water until it became very soft. These tripes were then laid out overlapping one next to the other and the overlapping edges were then beaten with special ‘tapa beaters’ for as long a time as it took for the bark fibres to become ‘felted’ and create thereby a big conjoined bast bark surface. When the surfaces became large enough for their practical use, they were dried up and painted on the front or imprinted with simple matrices made of palm-leaf ribbing. From island group to island group, these differed. The ‘tapa’ bark bast fabrics were not only used for wrapover skirts as clothing but also as objects of value during bride price payments (as ‘primitive money’) as well as for other transactions, for the making of dance masks and for many other purposes. The present bark bast ‘tapa’ is unusually big and originated in Samoa, Polynesia (judging from its ‘Siapo tasina’ pattern). The light brown base-pattern was imprinted with the help of palm leaf matrices above which dark lines and circles were painted by hand. All in vegetable pigments. Some minor age-related damage (holes, tears). Length: c. 340 cm; width: c. 265 cm. First third of the 20th century. (ME)

Provenance:
Austrian Private Collection.

Lit.:
'Traditional Tapa Textiles of the Pacific' by R. Neich & M. Pendergrast, ill. p. 32.

Specialist: Erwin Melchardt Erwin Melchardt
+43-1-515 60-465

erwin.melchardt@dorotheum.at


Buyers hotline Mon.-Fri.: 9.00am - 6.00pm
kundendienst@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 200
Auction: Tribal Art - Africa
Date: 09.06.2016 - 17:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: 04.06. - 09.06.2016