The C. Binnie Collection, Polinesian bark cloths, early 20th century



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The C. Binnie collection consists of 30 Pacific island bark cloths and grass mats donated to the Australian Museum in 1935. This includes 13 bark cloths from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga.

In 1935, C. Binnie donated 30 Pacific Island bark cloths and grass mats to the Australian Museum. The objects included 13 bark cloths from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga. These are excellent examples of the various designs, colours and detailing illustrative in Pacific bark cloths.

Producing the bark cloths involved stripping and soaking the bark (most commonly from the paper mulberry tree) before beating it thinly. Often, barks are decorated with stencils or by hand, while others are left unadorned. Bark cloths usually display natural colourings, as shown in this collection of cloths which include brown, black, yellow, blue/black and ochre coloured dyes.

The majority of the barks in the collection are decorated with geometric designs that form a grid of squares. Designs are repeated throughout the cloth. Others, including are not decorated, but display elaborate fringing, with jagged fringing along the edges or with fine fringing along its edges and fine fringing on the body of the cloth.


Bark cloths; Early 20th century; Indigenous artefacts; Pacific Island Culture

Floor mats; Tapa cloths

Coverage Spatial

Polinesia; Samoa; Fiji; Tonga


2012-05-30 23:43

2011-04-19 15:15