Hawaiian Kapa Fabric

So in an attempt to try to find some inspiration for patterns and colors that were valid in a traditional Hawaiian context, I contacted a well-established Hawaiian kapa fabric maker, named Dalani Tanahy. She was kind enough to respond to my ignorant digging for information, and told me that unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on perspective) there is no solid answer to the meanings of the patterns or colors used in kapa. She sent me to look at the Bristish Museum’s collection of kapa fabrics, which are breathtakingly beautiful, and even though I do not have any access to direct information, my ability to use these beautiful patterns as a place to start for my watercolors is a big help.

kapa hawaii3kapa hawaii2kapa hawaii4kapahawaii6kapahawaii5 kapa hawaii

Examples from the British Museum

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