Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

kapa (bark cloth)
  • Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiian) peoples
  • kapa (bark cloth), late 1800s–1987
  • Where object was made: Hawaii, United States
  • bark, paint, pigment
  • Object Length/Width: 259 x 143 cm
    Object Length/Width: 101 15/16 x 56 1/4 in
  • Gift of Fritz W. Forbes
  • Not on display
  • 2007.4053

The piece of cloth is made from pounded and flattened bark which is a light tan color and painted with dark brown paint. The main design area is made up of three rows of five blocks of patterns. There are two primary designs that alternate along each row. One of the patterns is a crown surrounded by a vine of leaves on either side. The other primary pattern is a six pointed star that is divided into six segments and each segment has two small curved lines inside it. Each block has a group of three small solid circles in two corners opposite each other. There is one column of a different design on the facing left side and those blocks are narrow rectangles with crossed lines of small interconnected triangles. The blocks are separated by either a line of small triangles or a wide band of alternating star patterns and four petaled flower patterns. At the facing right side of the tapa there are three blocks that each have two short vines of leaves inside them and are divided by other vines of leaves.