Dan-Style Wunkirmian Ladle Figure

c. 1950
$1,680 USD SOLD
W: 23.0" D: 6.25" H: 5.25"
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This unusual ladle, carved with a pair of legs in place of a handle, is a recreation of the ceremonial figures used by the Dan people of Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire, commonly referred to as wunkirmian or "spoon of feasts." An emblem of status and responsibility, the ladle is wielded by an individual woman, selected for her industriousness and unmatched generosity. This woman, known as the wunkirle, cares for the entire village, offering her hospitality at a moment's notice and coordinating the large feasts that accompany public masquerades. Followed by a line of women carrying various foods, she carries the wunkirmian ladle through town, distributing the feast to everyone in the community. This symbolic role of women as the source of food and life is echoed in the ladle itself - the bowl a symbol of the womb and the legs a symbol of sharing with others.

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