Extremely Rare Barkcloth, Hawaiian Islands
Inner bark of the paper mulberry plant
21 by 16 1/8in (53.3 by 41cm)
United States Exploring Expedition 1838-1842
Springfield Art Museum, Massachusetts
Private Collection, East Coast
Probably dating from the late 18th/early 19th century.
"They called it the U.S. Ex. Ex., or simply the Ex. Ex., shorthand for the United States South Seas Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842. It was an unprecedented naval operation, especially for a nation with a navy that was less than half the size of Great Britain's. For the young republic of the United States, it was a bold, some said foolhardy undertaking, consisting of six sailing vessels and 346 men, including a team of nine scientists and artists, making it one of the largest voyages of discovery in the history of Western exploration." (Philbrick, Nathaniel, The Scientific Legacy of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, Smithsonian Institute Digital Collections, Web: 2013)