Cook Islands tapa
Hunterian Museum Collection, GLAHM E.670
Art Historical Description
This sample comprises part of a maro loincloth from Rarotonga, largest of the Cook Islands. The fabric itself is autea; the fine, white everyday cloth of Rarotonga, bearing a linear beater mark of 6.5 grooves per centimetre. Here the sap expressed from the shaved outer wood of the tuitui (Aleurites moluccana, the candlenut tree) has been used as a pigment base for soot collected from the flames of burning the same tree’s nuts – producing a rich, glossy black. The iconography is characteristically Rarotongan.
Although it is almost certain that George Turner donated this sample to the Andersonian Museum in 1861, no other sibling samples have been identified during this project and all that can be said with certainty is that it cannot have been acquired before 1823, and it must have been here in Glasgow when the ethnographic collection was effectively closed in 1889.
198.5cm (length) x 65cm (width) x 0.3-0.6mm (thickness)
Broussonetia papyrifera; Aleurites moluccana (sap expressed from outer wood); Aleurites moluccana (soot collected from flames of burning nuts)
bark removal; dry-pulled cortex stripping; long retting bast soak; fermentation; initial beating – wooden anvil and square beater; spreading and homogenisation; fusing composition; linear beater marking; post-completion conditioning; hand painting
Associated Fabric Types
Surface cleaned, humidified, retaining fold lines which are probable evidence of use, minor tears supported with Japanese paper. Stored rolled on acid free tube.
Entry created on 28 August 2020