Barkcloth (bark cloth)

Barkcloth or Bark Cloth is a type of cloth made from the Mutuba tree in Africa. It is of pre-historic roots, predating weaving.



It was the specialty of the Baganda people of the Buganda Kingdom. It is worn at special events like coronation, healing ceremonies, and funerals. The cloth can signify social status. The ordinary populace wore plain terracotta colored barkcloth, but kings and chiefs wore white and black colored barkcloth. Men and women wore the cloth like a toga, with women wearing a sash around the waist. Kings and chiefs had special styles.


The cloth is produced by stripping bark off the Mutuba tree. The bark is then beaten with different wooden mallet. The key is to prevent the bark from drying too quickly. The bark is beaten until it has a soft texture.

Works Cited

Barkcloth Making In Uganda, UNESCO: Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, On Youtube.