Tapas, step 1

What looks like white rags drying on the neighbor’s line is actually the bark of a tree, pounded like parchment paper.

The village of Omoa is the Polynesian center for the revival of the art of making cloth (or paper) from bark, called “Tapas”. They are so-named (we think!) after the 1000 times one must whack a wooden mallet to soften and flatten the bark: “tap-tap-tap-tap”. This is the gentle monodrome that echoes through the valley of Omoa.

(Nope, these Tapas have nothing to do with appetizer foods sold in Spain and now popular in American bistros!)

The mulberry tree, shown in the picture, is used for its bark, which produces a Tapa with a pleasant off-white color. This was at the house of Dolina, whose Tapas we were here to look at.

One thought on “Tapas, step 1

  1. In ’67 I bought a large ROUND tapa in Papeete. Only one I’d seen, it was like a mandala.

    Do you see any/many round tapas?

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