Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

bark cloth
  • unknown Australian Aboriginal maker
  • bark cloth, circa 1965
  • Where object was made: Australia?
  • bark, paint
  • Object Height/Width: 77 x 71.5 cm
    Object Height/Width: 30 5/16 x 28 1/8 in
  • Gift of James A. Sleeper
  • Not on display
  • 2007.6597

The small, square piece of cloth is made from pounded bark. The main field is a light tan color and is painted with a dark brown paint. Along the outside edges is a border made from triangles with the points facing the outer edge. The main design is possibly a stylized map. At the top there are two large palm trees with a smaller shape in the center, possibly another tree or a tree house. In the center of the cloth there is a large, amorphous shape with three projections along the top, possibly depicting a lake. In the center projection there is a small rectangle painted in darker brown lines that is divided by a horizontal line and three vertical lines. To the proper left of the central shape and below the center, there are two shapes that are rounded at the bottom and have several points at the top, possibly depicting small fires. In the bottom proper right corner there is another large palm tree. At the bottom center there is a small house with a door in the center and dark brown roof with a smaller palm tree next to it. In the bottom proper left corner there is a large flower with nine pointed petals or leaves at the outside and three rounded petals on the inside. The back of the cloth has a large rectangle drawn in pencil. That large rectangle is divided into six smaller rectangles that each have a stylized pine tree drawn in it and a round sun with short lines of rays projecting out. In one of the rectangles the tree and most of the sun have been painted with brown paint, and in another one of the rectangles the tree has been painted but not the sun.