349 Scholes Street, Ste 203 Brooklyn, NY 11206 United States 347.290.9030
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$ 4,800


Period 1900-1919
W. 4.5 in; H. 19.5 in;
W. 11.43 cm; H. 49.53 cm;
Creation Date Early 20th Century
Description Ceremonial spoon (Wunkirmian)

Dan peoples, Ivory Coast, Early 20th Century.

Artists in Dan communities of Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire have mastered the art of carving impressive wooden ladles that are virtuoso works of sculpture. These ceremonial ladles, known as Wunkirmian or Wakemia ("spoon associated with feasts") are badges of prestige acknowledging an individual woman for her incomparable generosity (the belly of the spoon being symbolic of the female womb).

They are not so much utilitarian objects rather than symbols of status and the bearer of spiritual powers. Quality of craftsmanship and complexity of design are constitutive of the work’s importance. To create such esteemed objects, Dan sculptors often rely on anthropomorphic forms and draw upon elements of style developed in other carvings such as masks and figures.

In this wonderful example, the artist has combined anatomical preciseness with stylization that draws attention to certain idealized bodily attributes. The robust calves attest to the ability to work hard and give the impression of youth. Youth is associated with the notion of fertility, a significant cultural ideal.

For a more in-depth look at the fascinating symbolism and use of Wunkirmian in Dan culture, kindly see our blog post here.

Spoon measures: 19 1/2” H, 4 1/2” W

Base measures: 5 1/2” W, 4 3/4” D

Shipping + Delivery: Shipping price charged upon purchase is for shipping within the US only. We ship worldwide. Please contact us for global shipping costs. We work to obtain the most affordable shipping rates possible while ensuring that pieces are delivered safely. Local (NY) delivery and pick-up is also available.
Styles / Movements Modern, Other, Tribal
Incollect Reference Number 485433
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