Tapa Cloths for sale/specials/sale items.
Welcome to Tapapacifica.
Apologies to everyone who have been patiently waiting for me to post new items.
I've been busy concentrating on my own art work, then moved house,
and have undertaken a variety of other projects.
The aim is to be back in business after Jan 1st 2024,
when I'm hoping to have more time to organize, photograph and list
more Tapa cloths on this website.
I've acquired many interesting new pieces, which will appear at regular intervals....
As a lot of my collection has now either been sold or is on loan, this chapter showcases which Tapa cloths are currently for sale.
Included are also sale items and specials with Paypal buttons for fast checkout.
If buying multiple items please use the contact form on the last page for combined postage quote or inquiries.
This selection will change regularly, so please keep an eye out for what is happening...
A series of small Samoan Siapo, fresh from the Islands.
These are all time favorites for small presents or keepsakes.
Round Fijian Masi.
These are now harder to come by as it requires
a different skill to stencil accurately within a circle.
12 newly acquired vintage and 6 handpainted
Tongan Ngatu by Lavinia Taufa have been added.
25 Antique and vintage Samoan Siapo
some of these are extremely rare and priceless pieces.
Some have been on loan in museums,
others are very special pieces which I have held onto
for a very long time...never intending to part with.
7 New Lake Sentani Maro Smo.
These are the last ones from my collection.
7 Tongan Ngatu, mixture of old and new.
10 Fijian Masi, some beautiful vintage
runners among them.
16 New small Samoan Siapo, these are
one of the most popular items in my collection.
Also 6 new similar longer Siapo.
10 Large vintage Siapo, the majority of these
are very collectable pieces.
Some medium sized Siapo.
These display easily as don't require a huge wall space.
10 Vintage PNG Barkcloths, as most of my
previous stock has sold.
20 Fijian Masi. This is a mixture of vintage pieces,
some contemporary pieces and some real classics.
18 NEW MBUTI BARK CLOTHS
I've had these unusual treasures for a long time.
This abstract primal art is an expression of the last
remaining people of the Mbuti Pygmy nomads,
who live in total harmony with their environment.
10 Tongan Ngatu.
Some new, some old and then there are
a few collectors pieces.
20 Small Siapo,
These little treasures remain all time favorites.
10 Small rectangle Siapo,
these look beautiful when framed.
10 Sentani Maro Smo,
some of these are rare collectors items.
12 Tongan Ngatu,
mixture of modern and vintage pieces.
12 Small Samoan Siapo,
these remain popular and disappear fast...
Vintage PNG Bark cloths.
I recently acquired a lot of these in an estate sale
of an antique dealer specializing in PNG artifacts.
Some rare ones among them.
Fijian Masi runners, these are highly collectable pieces.
They can be used on special occasions as table runners (a glass plate will protect them from damage or spills) or displayed on narrow wall space. A shadow box will enhance their beauty and also serve as protection.
Tongan Ngatu and smaller runners,
these have been part of larger pieces, but have been cut
by the Chief or High Priest
after being used at ceremonial occasions.
Various pieces from all Islands.
Vintage Siapo runners,
and modern rectangle Siapo.
5 Circular Masi
4 Large vintage Siapo
3 contemporary Tongan Ngatu
7 Traditional Tongan Ngatu,
7 smaller Tongan pieces
2 Antique Siapo
6 Siapo of various age and size
Various pieces of all the islands
A new jewellery range added,
'Tiny Tapas' are uniquely handmade miniature tapas,
which can be worn as a necklace,
but they can also be framed.
'Tiny Tapas' are listed on the next page.
October/ November 2021
Tongan Tapa cloths added and until December
there is a 15% reduction in price already
added to all pieces available.
Newly arrived tapa necklaces
made on the islands.
This new range has a lovely variety
of color and designs.
Please scroll down for the selections of:
1. Rare pieces, of various origin
2. Papua New Guinea Bark cloth
3. Sentani Maro Smo
4. Samoan Siapo
5.. Tongan Ngatu
6. Fijian Masi
7. Mbuti Pygmy Bark cloth
1. Rare pieces, of various origin
2. Papua New Guinea Bark cloth
3. Sentani Maro Smo
4. Samoan Siapo
5.. Tongan Ngatu
6. Fijian Masi
7. Mbuti Pygmy Bark cloth
Rare Collectors pieces of various origins
Antique Samoan Siapo mamanu. This is a very early example of a Siapo used as a womens garment worn as a dress or faaofuina. The mamanu or hand painting method was the first to be adapted by the islanders to decorate the Siapo after the missionaries pointed out the importance of being 'dressed' as opposed to wearing tattoos. (Created around approx 1890). $630.00 (SA32) Available after Jan 1st 2024
Unusual piece produced in Tonga, bearing Fijian motifs. It was created by a Fijian family still wanting to practice the art of tapa making in Tonga, but being restricted by not being able to use the kupesi (carving block). They improvised with cutting stencils and inventing their own decoration, which is interestingly half Fijian/ half Tongan. $455.00 ON HOLD (VM)
Fijian Masi from Ca. 1970's. Unusual and rare for the fact it was created by a group of artists on the island aiming for a 'new movement' in Masi making. The group were still using the traditional methods, but adapting a contemporary approach to the designs. Only a limited number of these exist, as there was a strong opposition from the hierarchy in regards to cultural values being tampered with.Dimensions: 2m x 1080mm. $650.00 (U5) SOLD (JQ)
Interesting tapa with influences from Tonga (application & coloring), Fijian design (stencils being used) and Samoan influence (border design). Because of these 3 influences being present on 1 cloth it is hard to name this piece Masi, Siapo or Ngatu. Sourced in island group of Neiafu. Dimensions: 1820mm x 960mm. (U7) SOLD (MR)
A unique very early PNG loincloth. This pre dates the usual design motifs. The scene reflects the island life of hunting, fishing and gathering. It is painted with a simple dye made of charcoal and rubbed earth clay. The style of painting is naive and dynamic. Dimensions: 900mm x 585mm. $450.00 (U8) SOLD (RB)
Antique tapa from Wallis. This dates back to Circa 1920. Noteworthy is the method of numbering and dividing lines, (langanga) indicating the length of the piece, which is very similar to that of Tonga. (Wallis once formed part of Tonga and shared its language and customs). This has some small holes, edge wear, but is in very good condition. $1500.00 (U9) SOLD
Vintage tapa also named Siapo from Futuna. Futuna has close cultural ties with Samoa. The border section displays a Niuean influence, with finely hand drawn decoration (in contrast to the Samoan method of using colored dyes and strong outlines on the top) of this highly collectable piece. $1000.00 (U10) SOLD
Antique tapa from Wallis. A very striking piece with a strong presence. This dates back to early 1900's. Noteworthy are the motifs and method of tapa making which is very similar to that of Tonga. (Wallis once formed part of Tonga and shared its language and customs). Dimensions: 2320mm 1485mm. $1000.00 (U12)
Antique tapa from Wallis & Futuna. This is a transitional piece with influences of Tonga and Samoa. The kupesi (decoration block made of wood and fibres) has been used on the reverse, outlining the geometric motifs. The rubbing method has also been used, combined with hand painted outlines. $1400.00 (U14) SOLD
PAPUA NEW GUINEA BARK CLOTH
Beautiful vintage museum piece of medium to strong thickness, in excellent condition. This has some light water staining, to me this adds to the authenticity of the piece, it is not really noticeable when displayed, as can be seen in the image I have taken of it. Dimensions: 1930mm x 1050mm. $385.00 (PNG3) SOLD (ML)
Vintage bark cloth from the Oro Province. This is an interesting 'maze' design. Designs like these often read maps, with the solid red area as a focal point. When studying this more closely this also outlines the movement of the ceremonial dance in 4 different stages. Dimensions: 1400mm x 440mm. $265.00 (png13) SOLD (AG)
Extremely rare Bark cloth made by one of the Omie artists in the Oro Province. Geometric patterns in dense triangles with clever contrasts of light and shadow. Natural pigments used extracted from ash, river clay and plant pigments. No red dye (dun) has been used in this piece. Dimensions: 1360mm x 920mm. $385.00 (png34) SOLD (MM)
SENTANI MARO SMO
Maro Smo from Irian Jaya.
Irian Jaya (West Papua) is a tropical island with primeval rain forests, powerful rivers, beautiful beaches, lakes, and mountains.The people of the island can be divided into more than 250 subgroups, which are closely related to the islands along the southern rim of the Pacific. Those in the central highlands still maintain their customs and traditions and because of the terrain have virtually been untouched by outside influences. Communications have always been difficult here and different tribes have lived, for the most part, in isolation even of each other, resulting in an incredibly diverse mixture of cultures.
Traditional Maro (painted barkcloth) was produced by women from the beaten bark of the Khambouw tree, which is a scarce tree species which only thrive in the Sentani Lake region. Small trunks are cut and patches are stripped off the inner bark. These are then soaked and beaten to make the fibers interlace and to reduce thickness. After the bark has dried and is mostly flat, the stringy side of the bark is scraped to make it smooth. When it is completely flat and smooth, the surface is ready to be painted.
Sentani bark paintings consist usually of only three colors, black, white and red. Black is made from charcoal, white from crushed sea shells, red from the Sentani earth clay. The paintings known as Maro are among the most dynamic and fluent designs originating from the Sentani region. Decorated Maro were worn by initiated girls, while married women wore Maro waistcloths. Maro was also worn by men in ceremonial dances, hanging from the waist belt. Sentani Maro has been interpreted by Europeans since the 1920s as an ‘art form’.
But to Papuans the designs have both a functional and spiritual role associated with their cosmology, animals, spirits and environment. The artists are inspired by ‘dreamwork of the spirits’.
The main traditional stylistic design from this area is the Sentani form 'Fouw', which are Sentani spiral motifs.
These swirls are represented on Maro paintings and many other objects. These spirals symbolize the swirl of itself and said to represent eternity. Some pieces feature seemingly abstract and interlocked forms, and others hybrid fish-like or lizard-like creatures, often with human faces. Certain designs are associated with ancestors and cosmic symbols which represent life, balance and fertility in Lake Sentani.
On the other hand some of the designs are associated with the powerful village chief or ondoafi and are therefore regarded as a safeguard for plentiful fishing, hunting and harvesting of crops and also the well being for the community. There is a web of secrecy around the actual 'meaning' of the painted stories.
Barkcloth production has been revived at different times in Sentani history around the 1930s and 1970s until today.
The focus is on the star symbol which in this case represents the sun all year round, also the compass motif important for navigation. The other half circles are tree branches in various stages of seasonal growth. This Siapo is in excellent strong condition. . Dimensions: 1060mm x 540mm. $275.00 (S12) SOLD (TB)
Siapo Mamanu from Ca 1940's. Some of the motifs here are inspired by the stained glass windows of the Catholic Church in Leone. Symmetry and balance are very important in the overall design. There are different colored dyes used here (turmeric root for yellow, loa from the lipstick tree and lama from the kernel of the candle nut.) Dimensions: 700mm x 680mm. $175.00 (S25) SOLD (TL)
Antique and rare Samoan Siapo
Vintage Siapo created in 1920- 30's. It is in very good condition, apart from some light edge fraying. Containing many traditional design elements like Faalauulu, Faalaupaogo and Tusili’i. A very similar piece, using the same upeti or printing block, can be found in the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, https://collection.maas.museum/object/319841 Dimensions: 1540mm 1390mm. (SA1) SOLD (CP)
Vintage Siapo in excellent condition., this has been carefully stored. Superbly designed with geometric patterns of squares and triangles. What seems to the eye as a simple branch with leaves in rhythmic order in fact symbolizes shoals of fish or flocks of birds, one of the oldest design motifs. Very hard to find impressive pieces of this size. This is very large....
Very rare and valuable Siapo purchased from the estate of Mary Pritchard. There is no provenance to prove this fact, but the style and high skill suggests that this piece has been created by one of the best crafts persons of the time. This has been well used but is in good condition, with light overall wear. Dimensions: 1720mm x 1530mm. $1200.00 (SA12) SOLD (LH)
Museum piece. Antique Siapo with traditional geometric motifs. The symbolic meaning of these varies between flocks of birds, shoals of fish with nets these were caught in. Good used condition with some edge fraying and wear on the folds and overall thinning, which is usual for used pieces from Ca 1905. Dimensions: 2050mm x 1640mm. $525.00 (SA18) SOLD (TG)
Antique Siapo Mamanu from Ca. 1910/20. or earlier. This has undergone the smoking process to achieve the deep brown color, followed by hand painted crisscross motifs framing natural elements. Very impressive and rare museum piece. Overall very good condition, small tears and holes, thinning on folds, imperfections consistent with age. Dimensions: 1630 mm x 1550 mm. Hard to put a price on this, as it is rather priceless! $1350.00 (s2) SOLD (RWI)
Extremely rare blue Siapo. Superb coloring and design in excellent strong condition. This is a priceless piece because of its scarcity. Traditional motiifs like Fa'a 'au'upega and Tusili'i are geometrically balanced. The blue color adds a sense of infinity to this piece. Dimensions: 1610mm x 1320mm. $5500.00. SOLD (D.F.)
Undoubtedly one of the oldest and best pieces in my collection. This antique Siapo is from Ca 1880's. It has been hand painted without the use of the woodblock. Very good condition, apart from a slight edge fraying. Dimensions: 2m x 1700 mm. This is a rather priceless museum piece and the real value is far beyond this $1600.00 (s23) SOLD (WM)
Small Samoan Siapo
A significant historic piece 'Koe Kalauni', featuring the royal crown which references the Kingdom of Tonga. The garland around it is a symbol of the judicial authority of the chief, before the kingdom was established.The cross incorporated in the crown design represents the royal dependence of God’s grace. Good vintage condition Dimensions: 975mm x 850mm $135.00 (N3)
A real treasure of my collection. Ngatu featuring British Spitfire aircraft. Under the influence of Queen Salote, Tonga raised money to purchase 4 Spitfire aircraft for Britain during World War II. Te Papa museum has a similar Ngatu with a Spitfire on it and several other examples can be found in museums around the world. Extremely rare collectors piece. Excellent condition. Dimensions: 2m x 1400mm. $1000.00 (N14) SOLD (CC)
Culturally important Ngatu, especially created to commemorate the ceremony for Prince Tamasi’i’ ‘Uiliame Tungi, when he received a medal and added title of Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire CBE, on 3 May 1937. This Ngatu features Fatai House, Kolofo’ou, Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu, where the ceremony took place and the letters CBE, A large medal and the Hala Paini, the pathway of pines. Dimensions: 2290mm x 1660mm $850.00 (N31) SOLD (EN)
Large Ngatu,with central design of Tongan Coat of Arms.The Crown symbolises the ruling monarchy, the King of Tonga. The text on the scroll at the bottom reads Ko e ʻOtua mo Tonga ko hoku Tofiʻa in the Tongan language: 'God and Tonga are my inheritance'.This is in very good condition.No holes,tears or loose parts.Dimensions are: 1900 mm x 1800 mm $650.00 (N34) SOLD
Well balanced Ngatu runner, with variations of the Fata 'o Tu'i Tonga motifs. Symbolic like a central roof beam with sennit bindings which hold and support the central beam, which in turn supports the thatched roof. This refers to the House of the King. Dimensions: 1490mm x 490mm. $85.00 (N37) SOLD (VG)
Extremely rare vintage Masi from the Cakaudrove district. These patterns are distinctive for that region. The district has long been renowned for its striking and aesthetically strong barkcloth designs. The solid blocks of white and black triangles combined with the x are very distinct hallmarks. The dyes used are black kesa juice and red saffron extract. A hihgly collectable piece. Used in good overall condition. Dimensions : 975mm x 80mm. $350.00 (M8) SOLD (CC)
A rare Masi kuvui. I've taken 2 photos of this amazing piece as the Masi runner also displays well horizontally. To achieve the rich brown color this Masi has undergone a lengthy smoking process. Pieces like this were strictly reserved for people of higher status, mainly the Chiefs. Dimensions: 2520mm x 780mm. $495.00 (M21) SOLD (GD)
Rare and highly collectable vintage Masi, Ca 1930's. The most highly valued Masi are made of very thin and soft tapa. They are used for special ceremonies. This lovely piece was most likely used for a christening. The opposite edges are skillfully frayed. This is very light and must be handled with care. Dimensions: 1630mm x 470mm. $475.00 (M31) SOLD(CC)
Massive Fijian Masi in excellent condition, only used once. This is an amazing and rare piece, as most super large Tapa cloths are only made in Tonga. This must have taken many weeks to complete by excellent craftswomen, execution is perfectly symmetrical and straight, with traditional motifs. Excellent presentation piece for special occasions or ceremonies. Would also make superb covering for feature wall. Dimensions: 9.5m x 3.8m. $2500.00 SOLD