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bark cloth skirt photo

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Prior to the influence of Europeans, some Indians wore simple clothes made from the bark of a type of fig tree, Ficus yoponensis. Today, this garb is worn only for traditional performances usually put on for tourists. The bark is stripped from a portion of the trunk (not all the way around, which would kill the tree). It is then moistened, laid flat and pounded with a heavy piece of wood. To finish, the cloth is beaten with the back of a machete. The end result is a smooth supple material that can be used for a variety of purposes: headgear, canvas for painting and small bags as well as clothing. (For a photo of Indians wearing the clothing see traditional dancers.)

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