Page:Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 73 (1847).djvu/266

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When the bark is beaten out it is called "Tapa", and the breadths are pasted together with paste made of the flour of Arrow-root or Taro. When dried, it is printed, after which it is called "Gnato". The pattern is devised by the King's family, the type or pattern is raised upon the leaf of the Pandanus, and, contrary to other prints, the side which receives the stamp is the wrong side, the reverse being the right side. King Josiah Tubo, to show what could be produced in this way, had a piece of cloth made, which was, as I am informed, two miles in length and 120 feet wide. When finished, it was necessary to spread it, and the ground had to be cleared to display it upon. When the first piece was cut off there was a great feast of pigs and yams; it was all distributed, and the specimen sent to the Garden is a part of it.[1] It is worn round the waist in a large fold, covering the body from above the hips to the knees, and is secured round the middle by a girdle of mat or tapa. The only distinction in dress of the King or his sons, consists in the girdle, which is of Tapa, in the raw state, and of a dull white colour. By loosing the girdle the cloth can be drawn over the whole body, and is so worn in rainy weather. In some islands, as at the Navigators, it is made, not by beating, but by scraping or pressing out with cockle shells upon a flat board, held between the knees; this operation is performed by the water side, and the cloth is kept constantly wet; but it is of inferior quality.


When on a visit to the Tue Tonga, at Tonga-ta-boo, this Chief asked me if I would have some Kava, saying he knew we did not drink it, but, if I pleased, he would have some made; which offer I accepted. This great man, whose person is held sacred by the natives, sat upon the mat which covered the floor of the house, his back resting against one of the pillars which support the roof. The centre of the room was a clear space; the opposite side was filled with natives, who sat in silence, forming a semi-circle before him. They sit cross-legged like the Turks. A man being called from amongst them, crouched down in a most humble manner as he received his orders from the Tue Tonga, and having with his right hand touched both his (the Tue Tonga's)

  1. Among many valuable contributions made by Sir [[Author:Everard Home|]], to our Botanical Museum at Kew, are specimens of this cloth and the apparatus for preparing it.–ED.