Dan Ritual "Spoon for a Generous Woman", Ivory Coast #812

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  • Dan Ritual "Spoon for a Generous Woman", Ivory Coast #812
  • A Dan ceremonial spoon with anthropomorphic features, called also Wakemia or Wunkirmian, Ivory Coast/Liberia, wedge-shaped feet with grooved toes, the ankles encircled by rings, the sturdy legs slightly spread apart and bent, the thighs with leaf-shaped grooved decoration, protruding, almost disks-like knees, accentuated genitals, prominent buttocks, at the center of the ladle, a fluted narrow form connects handle to bowl, the bowl covered with a striated and linear grooved decoration.
  • An anthropomorphic Dan Spoon, standing on strongly partitioned legs, a long neck decorated with feather- or leaf-like carvings; blackened patina with traces of long reverent use.
  • This Ceremonial Feast Spoon, formed as an abstract female figure, is a symbol of High Ranking Women's Generosity and Talents and her Nurturing Nature (Fischer and Himmelheber in Falgayrettes-Leveau, Cuillers Sculptures, 1991, p. 73-88).
  • Artists in Dan Communities of the Guinea Coast have mastered the art of carving these impressive, large wooden spoons that are...a pair of legs like this example.
  • Among the Dan, the Owner of the Spoon is called "wa ke de", "at Village Feasts. It is a title of great distinction that creates a profound visual analogy that honors the Hostess, and Women in general, as a source of food and life.
  • "These spoons are connected with the most remarkable Women in a clan or Village...a Successor from among the Married Women of the Clan." William Fagg, African Tribal Images, Cleveland, 1968, fig. 68
  • Lit.: The Arts of the Dan in West Africa, Eberhard Fischer and Hans Himmelheber, Museum Rietberg, Zürich, 1984, 122. Fischer and Himmelheber in Falgayrettes-Leveau, Cuillers Sculptures, 1991, p. 73-88
  • Measurements: 4.15 cm
  • Condition: Very Good, dark patina, traces of age and ritual use, damaged on the left leg, incl. stand.
  • Lit.: The Met: Ceremonial Ladle (Wakemia or Wunkirmian) 19th–mid-20th century; Eberhard Fischer and Hans Himmelheber: The Arts of the Dan in West Africa, Museum Rietberg, Zürich, 1984; Eberhard Fischer: Dan Artists: The Sculptors Tame, Si, Tompieme and Sõn- Their Personalities and Work, Zurich, 2014; E. Fischer/H. Himmelheber: Spoons of the Dan (Liberia/Ivory Coast), Looking-Serving-Eating-Emblems of Abundance. Homberger, L., ed. Zurich 1991: Museum Rietberg; Ernst Winizki: Afrikanische Löffel: African Spoons. Zurich: Museum Rietberg; B. C. Johnson: Seeking a Name: Four Dan Sculptors of Liberia. San Francisco 1984.