Tapa wall drapery painted with animal clan emblems, from the Teluk Jos Sudarso (Humboldt Bay) area, elipsis
Abstract and figurative designs applied to nonwoven fabric made from bark. Also called tapa, the pieces are made by scratching or painting the designs. The most popular material is the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree. The bark is stripped off, soaked, and beaten until it is thin. Today hand-painted bark cloth is made in northern Australia, New Guinea, and parts of Melanesia. Styles and imagery vary by location, from naturalistic and stylized representations of human and animal forms to mythical beings, spirals, circles, and abstract motifs.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.