Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Tongan Barkcloth

As I said in my last post on barkcloth, the large size of many of the pieces in the Cook-voyage collections makes it difficult to know how to display them.  In the past, the pieces were folded and stacked on shelves, but after many hours of conservation work to humidify creases we didn't want to fold the barkcloths again.  This is especially problematic for the Tongan barkcloths, which are thick and have a shiny, almost resinous surface. 

Tahitian barkcloth and mats, folded in a previous display

The solution for us was to roll the barkcloths onto a padded roll, overlapping them as we did so.  Most of the roll could then be hidden behind the structure of the case, with only small section of overlapping barkcloth being visible.

Tongan barkcloth mounted in the mock-up of the new case

Our next challenge is the Tongan fishing net, which is over 8m long...