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Feast Ladle (Wunkermian)

Arts of Africa

Hospitality is an important virtue in African societies. Among the Dan, the woman with the greatest reputation for hospitality is known as a wunkirle. On public occasions, she carries as a staff of office a spoon known as a wunkirmian. The large bowl of the spoon suggests the ample quantities of rice she has given away. The ram's head commonly denotes power among the Dan, but it may also refer to the use of rams as sacrifices at the feasts over which a wunkirle presides.

MEDIUM Wood, copper alloy, fiber
  • Place Made: Liberia
  • DATES early 20th century
    DIMENSIONS 22 3/8 x 5 x 5 in. (56.8 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1998.80.4
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Blake Robinson
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Feast ladle with elongated bowl and handle with large terminal in the form of a cow's head. The bowl, which is longer than handle, has an underside of seven lengthwise facets. The cow's head has faceted horns, small eyes, and bulbous nose; it is embellished with brass carpet tacks, several of which are missing. Condition: Good. Overall signs of wear; nicks and scratches.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Dan. Feast Ladle (Wunkermian), early 20th century. Wood, copper alloy, fiber, 22 3/8 x 5 x 5 in. (56.8 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Blake Robinson, 1998.80.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1998.80.4_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 1998.80.4_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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