National Geographic : 1971 Sep
Undisturbed by chattering artists, an infant drowses on a tapa-cloth memorial to Tonga's Queen Salote, who died in 1965. After the women finish inking the designs, the 12-by-75-foot sheet will be displayed only on such special occasions as state marriages and funerals. To make the material, islanders peel the bark from paper mulberry trees, soak the separated inner layer, then pound it long and 332 vigorously with grooved mallets. The strips thus produced are glued in num bered sequence into one piece. At the coronation of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, son of Queen Salote and ruler of the last Polynesian monarchy, one of the island villages blanketed its main street with tapa for a mile. Cordiality of the Tongans led Cook to name the archi pelago the Friendly Isles.