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Lot 0067
West Africa, Ivory Coast or Liberia, Dan peoples, ca. 1930s CE. A hand-carved wooden ceremonial ladle (known as a "wakemia" or "wunkirmian," literally "spoon associated with feasts"), with a handle in the shape of a forked fish tail. The stem features a large diamond surmounted by a tapered triangle, and the ovoid scoop portion has a thick edge and intricately incised linear and geometric motifs on the verso. Dan artisans, when carving ceremonial objects like this one, looked to the natural world for inspiration, and then would oftentimes go beyond that into abstraction. The ownership of ladles like this example showed the prestige of individual women in society as they were symbolic of her generosity. Covered in incredibly lustrous patina, this is a gorgeous example from the Dan peoples! Size: 4" W x 16.7" H (10.2 cm x 42.4 cm); 18.3" H (46.5 cm) on included custom stand.

For a stylistically-similar example with an anthropomorphic-leg handle, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 1979.206.264

Provenance: private Tambaran collection, New York, New York, USA

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Repair to petite area on tip of scoop, with light resurfacing and adhesive residue along break lines. Minor abrasions to handle, stem, and scoop, with light softening to some incised details, and light encrustations within some recessed areas. Light earthen deposits and fabulous patina throughout.

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Early 20th C. African Dan Wood Ladle (Wakemia)

Estimate $1,800 - $2,500Oct 03