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Early 20th C. Solomon Islands Wooden Tapa Beater

Oceania, Solomon Islands, ca. early 20th century CE. A four-sided tapa beater, used for making cloth, made from wood. A cylindrical handle forms one end of the object. Each of the four faces of the beater are incised with abstract motifs, and the entire item is painted red. Tapa is a particular kind of bark cloth that is made in the South Pacific Islands, mainly Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji, but also as far afield as Hawaii and New Zealand. Tapa was introduced to the western world in the late 18th century by Captain Cook's first expedition, where it was collected under the direction of Joseph Banks and brought to Europe. In Polynesian society, the cloth is of great social importance and is often given as a gift, but it once (before synthetic fabrics replaced it) was used as everyday wear; today it is worn only at special occasions such as weddings. Size: 2" W x 13.65" H (5.1 cm x 34.7 cm)

Condition: Small loss to end of handle. Smooth patina on surface. Some fading to the red pigment.

Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection

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