Te Pito Te Henua, or Easter Island, by William J. Thompson, , at sacred-texts.com
The costume of the natives is at present made up of the cast-off clothing obtained from ships of all nations that have called at the island, but principally old uniforms of the French, Spanish, and English vessels of war. Brass buttons appeal strongly to the native love for adornment, and many were made happy by the liberal contributions from the Mohican. Very little tappa cloth is made on the island at present, but specimens of the ancient handiwork are treasured up in every family. The mode of manufacture is quite similar to that practiced on the various groups of the South Sea, but the patterns are much less elaborate. The bark is stripped from the branches of the Hibiscus, in a manner to obtain the greatest possible length, and rolled into coils with the inner bark outside, in order to make it flat and smooth. It is then scraped with a piece of obsidian to remove the bark, the coils being occasionally soaked in water to remove the resinous substances. The strips are laid across a log and beaten for many hours with a heavy mallet. The mallets are made of the heaviest and hardest wood that can be obtained (toromiro), about a foot long and 3 inches on each face, some of which are smooth and others carved into grooves or ribs, to suit the different stages in the process of manufacture. Several strips of bark are beaten into one thickness of cloth, according to the purpose for which it was intended, some, being made quite fine and others coarse and heavy. No gum is used except that naturally contained in the bark, and the fibers adhere closely when kept dry. The fabrication of the tappa speaks well for the native
invention and industry, but it is not very durable when compared with woven goods. The colors with which the decorations are made are procured from roots, leaves, and berries of indigenous plants and are prepared with considerable skill. Several kinds of earth are used for the dark colors, the pigment being ground down and boiled in the juice of the sugar-cane.