Captain Cook and the tapa cloth book
In the 18th Century, Captain James Cook ventured to the Southern Hemisphere, ostensibly on a search for scientific information but also on a secret journey to discover the fabled southern continent.
Nowadays the explorations of Captain Cook are not as favourably looked-upon as they once were but they were instrumental at the time in adding to knowledge. One small item from those voyages preserves a unique record from the Pacific. A few museums and libraries around the world hold a copy of A Catalogue of the different specimens of cloth collected in the three voyages of Captain Cook to the Southern Hemisphere with a particular account of the manner of the manufacturing of the same in the various islands of the South Seas. This book is a unique record of tapa cloths, those fabrics made from pounded wood and bark.