The artists take the buds of the mopa mopa tree before they become leaves. The buds are put in boiling water. They become a resin that is then colored with natural pigments from plants and minerals. They are adhered to the sculptures using heat and pressure from the artist’s hands; no glue is ever used. A knife is used to carve the intricate and varied designs. The process has been preserved over 2000 years without alternations up to the present time.
1. The buds of the mopa mopa tree
2. The buds are boiled in water
3. The buds become a resin which looks like a gum
4. The artists add natural color to the resin
5. The artists stretch it out with their mouth and hands
6. They apply the resin on the wood and make the designs with a knife