bark painting


bark painting
Abstract and figurative designs applied to nonwoven fabric made from bark.

Also called tapa, the pieces are made by scratching or painting the designs. The most popular material is the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree. The bark is stripped off, soaked, and beaten until it is thin. Today hand-painted bark cloth is made in northern Australia, New Guinea, and parts of Melanesia. Styles and imagery vary by location, from naturalistic and stylized representations of human and animal forms to mythical beings, spirals, circles, and abstract motifs.

Tapa wall drapery painted with animal clan emblems, from the Teluk Jos Sudarso (Humboldt Bay) area, ...

Holle Bildarchiv, Baden-Baden, Ger.

* * *

art
also called  Tapa, or Bark Cloth,  

      nonwoven fabric decorated with figurative and abstract designs usually applied by scratching or by painting. The basic clothlike material, produced from the inner bark, or bast, of certain trees (see bast fibre), is made by stripping off the bast, soaking it, and beating it to make the fibres interlace and to reduce thickness. The most popular material is the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree, although breadfruit and fig trees are also used. Hand-painted bark cloth is limited today primarily to northern Australia, the island of New Guinea, and parts of Melanesia.

      On the Australian mainland, style varies according to location: from the Kimberley region to Oenpelli in the west, a naturalistic rendering of human and animal forms prevails; in the east, a schematized style, relying heavily on the lozenge motif, dominates; between Oenpelli and Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria, the schematized and naturalistic styles coexist. In the Kimberley region, bark paintings frequently depict mythological beings known as Wondjinas; it is not known whether the bark wandjina (wandjina style) images had a religious significance, as did those that appear on the walls of caves. In Arnhem Land, where the X-ray style—which shows the internal structures of animals—is concentrated, bark paintings are done in a style of schematic naturalism. Some bark paintings, usually those depicting the Ancestors, can be viewed only by initiates. Others, which contain mostly narrative subject matter, may be viewed by all.

      In New Guinea, animal motifs are predominant in the Lake Sentani–Humboldt Bay area; but in the art of the Gulf of Papua, where animal images are conspicuously absent, abstract motifs, such as the spiral and circle, and highly stylized representations of the human figure prevail. Bark painting rarely appears in the art of the Sepik River basin, and no examples have been found in the Asmat or Massim regions. In Melanesia the style and content of bark paintings varies from region to region. See also wandjina style.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bark painting — is an Australian Aboriginal art form which is done on the interior strip of a tree bark. This is a continuing form of artistic expression in Arnhem Land and other regions in the Top End of Australia including parts of the Kimberley region of… …   Wikipedia

  • bark painting — /ˈbak peɪntɪŋ/ (say bahk paynting) noun 1. the art of painting on bark, extensively practised by Australian Aboriginal people. 2. a painting on bark …   Australian English dictionary

  • Bark — Bark, also known as periderm, is the outermost layer of stems and roots of woody plants such as trees. It overlays the wood and consists of three layers, the cork or phellem, the phelloderm and the cork cambium or phellogen. Products used by… …   Wikipedia

  • bark — bark1 barkless, adj. /bahrk/, n. 1. the abrupt, harsh, explosive cry of a dog. 2. a similar sound made by another animal, as a fox. 3. a short, explosive sound, as of firearms: the bark of a revolver. 4. a brusque order, reply, etc.: The foreman… …   Universalium

  • painting — /payn ting/, n. 1. a picture or design executed in paints. 2. the act, art, or work of a person who paints. 3. the works of art painted in a particular manner, place, or period: a book on Flemish painting. 4. an instance of covering a surface… …   Universalium

  • Painting — For other uses, see Painting (disambiguation). The Mona Lisa, by Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the most recognizable artistic paintings in the world. Painting is the practice of applying paint, pig …   Wikipedia

  • Watercolor painting — For other uses, see Watercolors (disambiguation). An artist working on a watercolor using a round brush Watercolor (US) or watercolour (UK and Commonwealth), also aquarelle from French, is a painting method. A watercolor is the …   Wikipedia

  • Dong Ho painting — Đám cưới chuột (Rat s wedding), a popular example of Dong Ho painting. Dong Ho painting (Vietnamese: Tranh Đông Hồ or Tranh làng Hồ), full name Dong Ho folk woodcut painting (Tranh khắc gỗ dân gian Đông Hồ) is a genre of Vietnamese woodcut… …   Wikipedia

  • art and architecture, Oceanic — ▪ visual arts Introduction       the visual art (art) and architecture of native Oceania, including media such as sculpture, pottery, rock art, basketry, masks, painting, and personal decoration. In these cultures, art and architecture have often …   Universalium

  • Indigenous Australian art — is art produced by Indigenous Australians, covering works that pre date European colonization as well as contemporary art by Aboriginal Australians based on traditional culture.It has a history which covers over 40,000 years, and represent a… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.