Wooden Ladle
Asmat, West Papua, Early 20th C.
Provenance: Cornelis Pieter Meulendijk, Rotterdam (1912-1979). Christie’s London, 21 October 1980, lot 338.

Wood carving flourished among the Asmat. Using many symbols to decorate their carvings, each curve or zigzag carried its own spiritual meaning. This ladle is carved out of a hard wood. The deep oval bowl is delicately carved with a variety of symbols on the back. Remnants of ochre and natural pigments are still visible. The handle of the ladle is carved as a male figure, with his hands clasped around its back. Carefully delineated teeth in the mouth, hooked nose, hands, and legs eloquently follow the lines of the ladle. The symbolism of the different designs on this object is without a doubt, extensive. The reverse “S” shape design on the object’s back is designated as was, an open clearing in the jungle, while the series of zigzag lines designate various animal parts and tracks.

Height: 20 inches
IN 10-3-16 / SOLD


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