Tapa Cloths for sale/specials/sale items.
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.
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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.
Please scroll down for the selections of:
1. Papua New Guinea Bark cloth
2. Sentani Maro Smo
3. Samoan Siapo
4.. Tongan Ngatu
5. Fijian Masi
1. Papua New Guinea Bark cloth
2. Sentani Maro Smo
3. Samoan Siapo
4.. Tongan Ngatu
5. Fijian Masi
PAPUA NEW GUINEA BARK CLOTH
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)
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.
This new Siapo has the traditional local design of American Samoa, it is not a common motif anymore. The fue or fly switch represents wisdom, while the To'oto'o or staff represents authority. Both symbols are used by talking chiefs indicating their rank. The Tanoa (ava bowl) represents service to the chief. Dimensions: 390 mm x 370 mm. $30.00 (SS25) SOLD (ST)
Antique and rare unique Samoan Siapo added on May 22nd 2017
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)
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, which is usual for used pieces from Ca 1905. Dimensions: 2050mm x 1640mm. $355.00 (SA18) SOLD (LWS)
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)
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)
Antique, early Siapo, ca 1900-1910, ex museum. This is based on basic naturalistic designs, seed pods and leaves. Although a common pattern at the time, these Siapo are one of the most sought after. This one is in fair condition, the cloth is fragile and quite thin in places, no tears or holes though. Dimensions: 1800 mm x 1320 mm $385.00 (s65) SOLD (NMK)
Vintage Siapo with provenance. This was purchased in 1948 and registered as freight from a passenger on an ocean liner. Photographs (from Samoan islanders creating this) and documents included. Rare find to have this accurate documentation relating to a piece. Fair to good condition, fragile areas on folds and few holes. Dimensions: 1480mm x 1455mm. $575.00 SOLD (BK)
Antique Siapo, over 100 years old. Extremely fragile, edges frayed, few small holes. Fine artwork with intricate geometric designs. The triangular shapes and stripes remind me of staircases, while the squares with irregular lines resemble landscape views. I am not sure of the real symbolic meaning of this piece, but it is certainly intriguing. Dimensions: 1950 mm x 1810 mm. $550.00 SOLD (TR)
Vintage Siapo 'elei of high quality. Once part of a museum collection. The background shines through clearly and shows the intricately finely carved patterns of the Upeti. Design elements most likely are Fa'a vae tuli, the footprints of the sand piper which can take on many different forms. Excellent strong condition. Dimensions: 1420 mm x 1280 mm. $435.00 SOLD (SN)
Vintage Tongan Ngatu with traditional motifs of doves of peace, crowns and falcons. What makes this special is the way these elements are not placed in the usual square grids, just in between straight bars, softened by wavy lines. Good condition, no loose pieces or holes. Dimensions: 1940 mm x 1440 mm. (n3) $65.00 SOLD (RB)
Vintage Ngatu from Ca. 1970's in excellent condition. These basic motifs are the oldest patterns used on artifacts in many other cultures apart from the Pacific, like Africa, Asia and the Middle East. This one from Tonga is commonly recognized, yet has become hard to find these days. Dimensions: 1170 mm x 440 mm. $75.00 (n13) SOLD (JS)
An excellent example of an intricately free hand painted Ngatu. The motifs suggest celebrating local harvest, with Tongan staple diet, with fruit and flowers as well. This tapa (bark cloth) on which the designs are created is of much better and softer quality than most. Dimensions: 1670 mm x 865 mm. SPECIAL $125.00 (n38)
Collector's piece, probably part of a much larger piece at one stage. This Ngatu features British Spitfire aircraft. Under the influence of Queen Salote, Tonga raised money to purchase 4 Spitfire aircraft for Britain during World War II. Extremely rare, only a few of these survive. Dimensions: 1850 mm x 1360 mm. Excellent condition. Dimensions: 2m x 470mm. $125.00 (n43)
Collector's piece, 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 .Dimensions: 1850 mm x 1360 mm. Excellent condition. $375.00 SOLD
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 $385.00 SOLD
Very 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. A collectors piece. this has been used and is in good condition. Dimensions : 975mm x 80mm. $350.00 (m18)
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