17: Immersion 6
“…one of the most distinctive artforms of Oceania is painted barkcloth, called masi in Fiji
which also is the name of the tree from which it is made. Though practiced in many other parts of the
Pacific, the barkcloth of Fiji is still highly sought after by collectors
for its intricate designs and detailed patterns. Primarily manufactured
for clothing, masi is iyau, a property of value for trade or ceremony.
In contemporary Fiji, artists and designers have adapted many of the motifs and styles
used in masi for printed cloth, fashion and interior design.
The general process of manufacturing barkcloth is described by the Fiji Museum as follows:
Paper Mulberrry trees about one to two years old are cut down and stripped of their bark.
The green outer layer is stripped from the inner white layer. This white layer is then soaked in water
and … bark is beaten with a mallet (ike) across a large wooden anvil … wider.
depending on its use, it would be beaten to a fner …for clothing or to wrap babies.
Also depending on its use, …beaten together to make a wider sheet. Or, alternatively…and glued
to each other using the gum of a tree. The…white before applying the decoration.
In other uses, … to give it an overall yellow or brown color base. Once prepared,
there are two basic methods of …”