Ritual Ladle
Tami Islands, Papua New Guinea. 19th Century Collected by: Merlin Moore Taylor in 1910, by decent through family to the collection of his nephew Dean Stringer (written provenance available)
This magnificent old ladle is not an everyday utilitarian object; it is only used during special ceremonies among the Tami people of the Huon gulf; according to Neuhass in 1911 these were only to be used to serve taro mash at Balum feasts celebrating the spirit of Balum. This example is simply superb; the top of the handle has two finely rendered heads in janus style following down to a full figure with a hulking posture surmounted by janus crocodile heads. The head of the figure is classically done and the arms in zig-zag fashion are grasping onto the legs giving a strong feeling of tension to the figure. The original pigments are still present with a deep aged patina over the surface. There is some loss to the scoop portion but this is to be expected of a piece this old. From every angle this object is a wonderful sculpture.
This ladle stands 28 inches tall.
IN 11-3-12/ SOLD