Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
0 selections
Log In
0 selections
lots of lots
Lot 0115
West Africa, Ivory Coast or Liberia, Dan, ca. late 19th to early 20th century CE. A skillfully hand-carved wooden feast spoon or ceremonial ladle (called a wakemia or wunkirmian meaning "spoon associated with feasts"), with a large concave scoop representing the head of a human figure, a handle representing the figure's torso with a 'frilled' neckpiece, a protruding abdomen with belly button, a round buttocks, twin legs with bent knees, and feet with incised toes. Dan artisans, when crafting these objects, looked to the natural world for inspiration, and then would go beyond that to create an abstract rendering. The ownership of these ladles showed the prestige of individual women in the society, symbolic of their generosity. A fabulous example with dark brown, lustrous rich patina. Size: 20.5" H (52.1 cm); 21.5" H (54.6 cm) on included custom stand.

According to Jean-Baptiste Bacquart, "Large anthropomorphic spoons were coveted prizes given to the most hospitable village women." (Bacquart, "The Tribal Arts of Africa", New York: Thames & Hudson, 1998 & 2000, p. 38)

Provenance: private Omer Claiborne collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA; acquired over the last 40 years

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

We ship worldwide to most countries and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.



Both legs reattached; right leg repaired above the knee. Old chips around rim of spoon, to feet and legs. Expected surface wear with scratches and nicks here and there.

Starting Bid


Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

African Wooden Figural Dan Spoon

Estimate $1,500 - $2,000Dec 20, 2017
686 S. Taylor Avenue Suite 106
Louisville, CO 80027
United States
Ask a Question|