Read Misa Tamura's entry on Jeremy Uden's 'Conserving Curiosities Blog' (Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford). Misa is completing the UCL MSc in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums with a five-month internship at the Pitt Rivers. Here she discusses the conservation of two fragments of barkcloth brought back from Cook’s first voyage to the South Pacific between 1769-1771 and later donated to Oxford University.
"Tahitian barkcloth, or ‘ahu was typically made from the bark of the paper mulberry, and the breadfruit tree as well as two types of Ficus. Barkcloth made from the paper mulberry, characterised by its soft, fine quality with white colour, was worn by people of high rank. According to the museum’s records it is possible that these fragments were obtained in Batavia, Java, Indonesia, during Cook's stopover there in late 1770."