Vintage 1960's Framed Polynesian Ngatu Tapa Painted Cloth (Select)


Vintage large framed Ngatu Tapa Cloths, both from the 1960's. Tapa cloths and wood frames are both in excellent condition. Both wired for horizontal mounting; however, they would look spectacular mounted vertically. Measures 23.5" wide x 17" tall. Both frames also include descriptions about the cloth & history on the back. Framed in Staten Island, NY. See photos and select preferred frame from bolded list above. The pair is also available.

About: Ngatu is Tongan barkcloth. In Tonga, girls from an early age learn to make ngatu from the bark of the paper mulberry tree. Other natural resources are used as dyes and glue, and the cloth is beaten with mallets made from the dense wood of trees. Tapa making in Tonga is characterised by freehand drawing and by rubbing on pattern blocks called kupesi. Ngatu can sometimes tell a story, using symbols drawn from the natural world, although today they may depict the kings palace, tonga’s coat of arms and even power lines. 

Ngatu are still considered to be significant gifts in any ceremony in Tonga, and are also regarded as valuable by Tongans living overseas. Tonga and Fiji are still important centres of modern tapa manufacture, and very large pieces continue to be made for ceremonial purposes.

You may also like