|1886.1.1256 Barkcloth, Tahiti|
Emma's first project is to investigate a piece of barkcloth, collected on Tahiti - Forster No. 18 'A black piece'. It has three layers-the bottom two are recognisably Tahitian, but the top layer, with its fish-scale like appearance, is very unusual.
|Corner of barkcloth, showing deterioration|
There are several questions we hope to answer about this barkcloth - why is the black layer deteriorating so badly? What has been applied to the surface to create the dotted decoration? (There has been a suggestion that this might even be a European paint obtained on a previous voyage).
|Microscope image showing detail of applied dots|
Is the black barkcloth even originally from Tahiti? Emma will spend time trying to answer some of these questions, and investigating conservation treatments for the fragile barkcloth.