A decorated barkcloth, kapa, sample book, Hawaiian Islands
Book: 6 1/2in X 4 1/2in; each sample: 2 1/4in X 4in
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A collection of 48 classic 18th and early 19th century-style Hawaiian decorated kapa (tapa) samples, each with bold dyed and or watermarked designs.
According to Buck (1957:166), "Bark cloth is a product of tropical countries, and its manufacture encircles the globe... From museum specimens, it is evident that Polynesian barkcloth is superior, on the whole, to that made in any other area. Within Polynesia itself, though .... The Hawaiian bark cloth, kapa, displays the greatest varieties of texture and colored designs. (Captain Cook reserved his highest praise for the beauty and sophistication of this cloth.) In its manufacture, the Hawaiians developed some forms of technique not used elsewhere. Among these local developments was the extensive use of beaters with a variety of incised patterns that produced watermarks on the finished cloth, differing from the usual parallel lines made by the beaters of central and eastern Polynesia. The use of bamboo stamps to impress color designs on the cloth was also confined to Hawaii ...."
Leo Fortess Collection, Hawaii