Barkcloth in Vanuatu
Art Historical Description
Ni-Vanuatu barkcloth has a more restrained character in its use of colour and materials than either the Solomon Islands to the west or Fiji to the east. Nonetheless, the Ficus prolixa nemas-itse cloaks of Erromango are magnificent paintings in an ochreous palette, which have received sadly little attention by Pacific art historians, and share deep compositional affinities with certain styles of both New Guinean and northern Aboriginal Australian painting. The barkcloth belts of Tanna, conversely, offer a strongly geometric monochrome scheme in a number of arresting colours.
- Speiser, F. (1996). Ethnology of Vanuatu: an early twentieth century study. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press
- Huffman, K. (1996). The ‘decorated cloth’ from the ‘Island of Good Yams’: barkcloth in Vanuatu, with special reference to Erromango. In: J. Bonnemaison, K. Huffman, C. Kaufmann and D. Tyron, eds. Arts of Vanuatu. Bathurst: Crawford House Publishing: 129-40
Characteristic Fabric Types
Entry created on 28 August 2020