bark cloth


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bark cloth,

primitive fabric made in tropical and subtropical countries from the soft inner bark of certain trees. It has been made and used in parts of Africa and India, the Malay Peninsula, Samoa, the Hawaiian Islands, and the Fiji Islands and perhaps reached its highest perfection in Polynesia and parts of Central America. Lengths of branches or of young stems are cut from trees, such as the fig, the breadfruit, or the paper mulberry. The outer bark is removed; the inner bark is cut in narrow strips and then alternately soaked and beaten with a grooved or carved wooden mallet, or beetle, until the fibers are well matted and become thin and flexible. Gum is sometimes added, and pieces may be joined and beaten together to form large sheets. The peeling and beetling are usually done by the men; the decorating, by the women. Patterns, often elaborate, may be sketched or may be applied by block printing or by leaves dipped in dye and pressed on the cloth. The cloth may be gummed or oiled to make it waterproof. Tapa cloth is a fine variety made in the Pacific islands. Bark cloth is used for loincloths, skirts, draperies, and wall hangings; in thick layers it makes an excellent bed. So ancient is the art of making the cloth that it is deeply involved in religious and ceremonial life. In Borneo a strip of the cloth signifies mourning. In Malawi it has traditionally formed the initiation dress of girls. In India some sects prescribe bark cloth as the dress of a religious recluse.

bark cloth

[bärk ‚klȯth]
(textiles)
Fabric made from inner tree bark by beating it to a smooth, wearable thinness.
References in periodicals archive ?
The conglutination of the strangler Ficus has implicit connotations of coitus, a probable reason why the Pygmies developed special names for it and chose it for bark cloth.
Now bark cloth crafts such as tablemats, bedcovers, jackets, purses and wide-brimmed hats are finding their way to the international market.
Working in mediums from Ugandan bark cloth (used in burials), to oil and mixed media, Boghossian's abstract, surrealist style draws on his interest in traditional Ethiopian arts, modern history, magic scrolls and church paintings.
NEW YORK-Antique Japanese kimonos, African bark cloth and the colors of Miami are just some of the graphic inspirations reinterpreted by new rug collections from Odegard Inc.
They live today as their ancestors did, wearing dresses and head decorations made of bark cloth and forest grasses, hunting for food with crossbows and nets, and living in extended families.
As they report it, during the remaining years of the war, they had to eat cassava, as rice was commandeered by the Japanese; and for several more years afterward, they had to make bark cloth, as trade cloth was unavailable, and to boil the water of salt springs to procure salt.
Amazonian region mask, Brazil, bark cloth and bitumen (c.
The opening chapter on Africa discuses the materials Africans used to cover themselves including, wool, silk, animal skin, bark cloth, bast fiber (from stems such as raffia palm), and cotton.
Almost without exception, cultures producing woven textiles or other cloth (such as bark cloth, finely plaited mats) have used the symbolic potentialities of cloth in its material properties as well as cloth as an essential agent in social and political contexts.
We have on display table mats made of raffia grass and banana fibre as well as bark cloth," she further said.
In casual collections, tropical and plantation styles are gaining interest in heavy textures such as raffia in table linens at Trendex, pillows at Brentwood and combined with bamboo print bark cloth in Newport's West Indies bed.
writes that the large tree known as Antiaris africana "emanates from the west coast of Africa and in Ghana is called the bark cloth tree.