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Natural "Red" Bark Cloth - Uganda | 122 x 74"


This natural "red" bark cloth is one of three "color" classifications, depending on the species of tree from which it is harvested. Ugandans call this color "red" which is why I also use that term. Of course, it is much more orange or rust colored. Harvest begins as the bark of the tree is scored around half of the tree and then down the side. Only one half of the tree's bark, one side of the tree, is harvested at a time in order to preserve the life of the tree. This piece of bark, thereby defined, is peeled from the tree. It is rolled up and boiled briefly before being pounded for quite a long time, until an approximately 12" wide piece is beaten into this piece of cloth 74" wide. Nothing is added to it; it is 100% tree bark. See here photos I took in the Ugandan forest of this process and some very much larger versions of this same type of bark cloth.

In Uganda it is used for many traditional purposes, including clothing. For clothing it is pounded much longer, until it becomes quite soft. The pieces we have are not that soft.

In Uganda, this cloth is graded based on its level of quality: during its pounding the cloth can develop areas that are much thinner which can vary from translucent to actual holes. Holes are repaired by hand-sewing patches in the area of the hole. Cloths with fewer repairs and a more uniform thickness are Graded as Grade A; those with more such imperfections are Grade B. If there are visible holes and discoloration the Grade is C. This cloth is Grade A.

In terms of rarity, white cloths like this one are the most unusual, the most rare. Black are less rare but are not as common as those they call "red". The attached video shows a "red" cloth being harvested and pounded.

This textile measures 122 x 74" (3 x 1.62 m)