Oceanic Art - Tapa Cloth Fragment, Western Samoa

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Tapa Cloth Fragment
Western Samoa

Bark cloth, 'o'a sap and lama nut glaze
29 (73.6 cm) high by 22 (56 cm) wide
Early 20th century

This portion of a larger tapa cloth was collected circa 1910 to 1920 by Rear Admiral Cary Travers Grayson (1878-1938), President Woodrow Wilson's personal physician. It wraps around a piece of cardboard at three edges; the bottom edge is loose, as seen above. The heavy brownish black resinous glaze is typical of Samoan tapa painted with 'o'a sap mixed with special charcoal, or black dye, from lama nut kernals. This is a freehand painted tapa.


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