Masi or tapa cloth is made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree (Broussonetia papyrifera). Its bark is stripped then the outer bark is separated from the inner white bark named tutu.
The strips are soaked and pounded until they become wider and more pliable. A number of strips are then overlapped and the joints are beaten with a mallet until they are firmly joined together to form the desired size and texture. After this, the masi is sun-dried until it resembles a fine white cloth.
The cloth is then stained with stencil designs that are created using natural dyes obtained from mangrove sap, terracotta clay or specially prepared soot.
Different indigenous Fijian (Itaukei) communities have their own distinctive motifs with symbolic meaning, produced for ceremonial wear, for people of chiefly rank and for general wear.
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