Masi, tapa

Masi is the Fijian word for "tapa" or bark cloth. It is also the Fijian name for the paper mulberry tree, (scientific name Broussonetia papyrifera).
Masi cloth is used for traditional marriage, birth and death rites and for ceremonies of welcome. The motifs and design on the cloth will indicate the area from which it originates..

When the tree reaches maturity (2-3 years), its bark is stripped in as long strips as possible. The outer layer is separated from the core of the stalk/stem and the dark outer bark is scraped away with a sea-shell.
The strips of fibre are placed on a wooden anvil which looks like a low stool. The cloth is then stained with stencil designs (cut from Vutu leaves (vootwo) and also banana leaves) using natural dyes of black and brown hues.
The black dye is obtained from soot deposits while the brown dye is obtained from red clay. These dyes are mixed with sap wrung from the bark of the mangrove tree.