Barkcloth

Barkcloth or bark cloth is a versatile material that was once common in Asia, Africa, Indonesia, and the Pacific. Barkcloth comes primarily from trees of the Moraceae family, including Broussonetia papyrifera, Artocarpus altilis, and Ficus. It is made by beating sodden strips of the fibrous inner bark of these trees into sheets, which are then finished into a variety of items. Many texts that mention "paper" clothing are actually referring to barkcloth.

  • A Hibiscus flower pattern on barkcloth.

  • Barkcloth-style botanical pattern on skirt-weight cotton fabric.

  • 1950s barkcloth table cloth with botanical design.

Today, what is commonly called 'barkcloth' is a soft, thick, slightly textured fabric, so named because it has a rough surface like that of tree bark. This barkcloth is usually made of densely woven cotton fibers. Historically, the fabric has been used in home furnishings, such as curtains, drapery, upholstery, and slipcovers. It is often associated with 1940s-through-1960s home fashions, particularly in tropical, abstract, "atomic" and "boomerang" prints, the last two themes being expressed by images of atoms with neutrons whirling, and by the boomerang shape which was very popular in mid-century cocktail tables and fabrics. Waverly, a famed design house for textiles and wall coverings between 1923 and 2007, called their version of this fabric rhino cloth, possibly for the rough, nubbly surface. American barkcloth shot through with gold Lurex threads was called Las Vegas cloth, and contained as much as 65% rayon as well, making it a softer, more flowing fabric than the stiffer all-cotton rhino cloth or standard barkcloth.

Other articles related to "barkcloth":

Sub-Saharan Africa - Clothing
... which is not a fiber and is used to make clothing is barkcloth, an innovation of the baganda people of Uganda ... Raffia cloth and barkcloth are also utilized in the region ... Barkcloth was also extensively used ...
Science And Technology In Africa - Textile - Other African Traditions
... djellaba, kente cloth, raffia cloth, barkcloth, kanga, kitenge, and lamba mpanjaka ... Barkcloth was used by the Baganda in Uganda from the Mutuba tree (Ficus natalensis) ... The Ndau in central Mozambique and the Shona mixed hide with barkcloth, cotton cloth ...