Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

siapo (bark cloth)
  • Samoan peoples
  • siapo (bark cloth), late 1800s
  • Where object was made: American Samoa or Samoa?
  • bark, paint, pigment
  • Object Length/Width: 209 x 165 cm
    Object Length/Width: 82 1/4 x 64 15/16 in
  • Gift from the Harold Eicholtz Collection
  • Not on display
  • 2007.4052

The piece of cloth is made from pounded and flattened bark in a very light beige color. There is a wide outside border of alternating pattern blocks. On the long edges, the patterns alternate between blocks with a diagonal line of dark brown triangles with a reddish brown herringbone field, and blocks with alternating rows of dark brown and reddish brown triangles and rows of thin diagonal lines in reddish brown. On the shorter edges there are those two patterns in addition to one pattern of wider bars of herringbone and a row with dark brown and reddish brown triangles. In the center of the cloth is a large rectangle with light beige natural color for the field. Painted inside the rectangle are four rows of seven blocks with wide borders around each block of either zigzags or crossed lines. There are three different patterns that alternate within the rectangle. One block has a pinwheel pattern of triangles in dark brown, dark reddish brown, and light beige unpainted. Another has a small circle in the center with long thin spokes radiating out to the edges in dark brown, dark reddish brown, and natural with dark brown diagonal lines. The third pattern has one thick band of crossed lines running diagonally with two projections in dark brown and two of just dark brown outlines extending to the edges.