There is one other image of this object. This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions), and as such we offer a high-resolution image of it. See our image rights statement.


See more objects with the tag women's clothing, traditional, diamonds, lattice, ceremony, zigzags.

See more objects with the color darkolivegreen peru tan wheat sienna or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline


  • Work on this object ended.


  • We acquired this object.




  • You found it!

Bark Cloth (Samoa)

This is a Bark cloth. It is dated 19th or early 20th century and we acquired it in 1958. Its medium is broussonetia bark and its technique is beaten bark fiber, rubbed and hand painted. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Tapa, a general term used to describe Polynesian bark cloth, is made from the inner bark of the Broussonetia tree that has been hand beaten, scraped, pressed, and patterned to create printed cloth. In Samoa, two methods are used to produce large pieces of printed bark cloth. One method consists of pasting smaller strips of bark cloth together while simultaneously applying colored designs by rubbing the material on design tablets (upeti) loaded with natural pigments. The second method consists of piecing and adhering bark cloth strips to create a larger textile prior to patterning and dyeing. Many of the designs used in Samoan siapo (completed bark cloth) are geometric and linear. This siapo is patterned with the basic hallmarks of Samoan bark cloth design: rectangles with filled diagonals interspersed and decorated with bands of diamond patterning. The repetitive use of these shapes transforms the cloth into a rich and rhythmic textile with dynamic visual interest.

This object was donated by Mrs. Henry J. Bernheim. It is credited Gift of Mrs. Henry J. Bernheim.

  • Robe (Japan)
  • cotton appliqué and embroidery on elm bark (ohyo) foundation.
  • Gift of Alice Boney.
  • 1962-67-1

Its dimensions are

H x W: 177.8 x 128.3 cm (5 ft. 10 in. x 50 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Bark Cloth (Samoa); broussonetia bark; H x W: 177.8 x 128.3 cm (5 ft. 10 in. x 50 1/2 in.); Gift of Mrs. Henry J. Bernheim; 1958-140-8

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Bark Cloth (Samoa) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=19 August 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>