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Fijian Tapa Cloth is called "Masai" in Fiji.
We have also heard it called Barkcloth, as the bark of the paper Mulberry tree is stripped off the trunk, soaked, and then pounded into a sheet of various sizes.
It is then printed, using incised design boards of wood and instruments. Color is added using native plant materials, made into an ink-like consistency.
#830 - Square & Rectangular Sizes:
#A - 12" x 18"   #E - 4' x 6'
#B - 2' x 2'   #F - 4' x 8'
#C - 3' x 4'   #G - 6' x 9'
#D - 3' x 5'    
Making Tapa is a women's job. It is used in Tonga for special occasions like weddings and birthdays.
One piece of Tapa is about 30cm wide. It is traditional to glue 532 segments lengthwise and 13 pieces widthwise to create a large Tapa Cloth. 52 Segments are for the weeks of the year, and 13 segments are for the 13 lunar months. Tapa Cloth making is still a tradition to this day.
(Much of this information comes from Vaimana, Marcellin College of Living Heritage.)
An old-time Fijian Bure
#830 - Round Sizes:
#A - 12" dia.
#B - 24" dia.
#C - 36" dia.
Fijian Tapa is known by its subtle brown-and-black geometric designs on an ivory background.
Ngatu Tapa Cloth is one of Tonga's most important possessions. In the old days, it was similar to money. The colors are warm tones of dark brown and lighter tones of browns, on a beige / ivory background. Designs combine geometric and symbolic motifs, depicting: birds, plants, animals, the Tongan Royal Crest / Coat of Arms, Lions, Eagles, and their flag.
The Kapu Kai Restaurant in Cucamonga, CA
Nice use of Tongan Tapa, with dark walnut
stained Rattan tied with Peel Winding Cane.
Oceanic Arts handles the traditional Tapa,
not tapas made with modern material, which are more convenient and quicker to make.
We have had Tapas made up to 14' wide x 153' long!
Sizes vary with each Tapa, so Please Call or Email us with your requirements.
(Note: Tapas shown above are not Tapas in stock, but are typical of those we have sold.)
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