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Baule Spoon Figural Female Handle Ivory Coast African Art

Product #: 99355
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Title Baule Spoon Figural Female Handle Ivory Coast African Art
Type of Object Artifact, Household
Country of Origin Cote d'Ivoire
People Baule
Materials Brass alloy (metal content unknown)
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 9.25 inches tall x 3.5 inches wide
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Minor metal tarnishing, casting flaws

 Additional Information: A gorgeous ceremonial spoon with clear Baule influences.  The bowl of the spoon is decorated with spiraling geometric patterns.  And the handle takes the form of a standing female with her hands on her breasts.  Her belly is decorated with scarification, as is her face.  In combonation with the ornate hairstyle this suggests the hand of a talented Baule metal worker.  

Among the Baule people ceremonial spoons like this come in various forms and the handles are simple or elaborate with carved animal or human heads or figures, or simply decorated with geometric motifs. Simple spoons are used for cooking, stirring, and eating. Elaborate and figural spoons such as this are best described as feast ladles used by their owner to offer food during public feasts or special ceremonies. In certain parts of Africa, spoons like this are considered prestige objects used by initiate members. They are carved from prestigious material such as ivory (as is the case for the Lega people of the DR Congo). Among the Dan, spoons can be a central piece of important ceremonies and an award to women who had been judged by their peers and elders of their village to be the most generous and hospitable to others of their village quarter. The images carved on the handles are drawn from the Baule mask and figure repertory. They represent important spirits of nature and those of the ancestors.

Recommended Reading: P. L. Ravenhill: Baule Statuary Art: Meaning and Modernization, Institute for the Study of Human Issues, Working Paper 5 (Philadelphia, 1980) S. M. Vogel: Beauty in the Eyes of the Baule: Aesthetics and Cultural Values, Institute for the Study of Human Issues, Working Paper 6 (Philadelphia,1980) S. M. Vogel, Baule, African Art, Western Eyes. 1997.