Object Record

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Collection African Art Collection
Object Name Ladle
Other Name Dan Ceremonial Spoon
Catalog Number 1976.1.19
Accession Number 1976.1
Description The handle of the ladle is carved in a shape of a female face with hair divided into six triangular "corn row" patterns. The "neck" is incised with diagonal and slightly rounded ridges and the "bowl" of the ladle is carved with geometric designs. The ladle edge has been repaired.

Wa ke mia, "Feast acting spoon," or bo deu ke mia, "Special spoon for public acting" are the large ceremonial spoons of the Dan peoples of Liberia. These ladles are often decorated at the end of the handle with either large heads of women, a powerful fist, a pair of legs, a domestic animal's head, a ring, or an ornament. The three dimensional head is the most common decoration found. Used only for rituals, they are larger than normal utensils and are signs of dignity for their owners. For example, the ladles are used to carry rice which is thrown in order to welcome guests.
People Dan
Subjects Africa--Social life and customs.
Ceremonial objects
Cote d' Ivoire
Eating & drinking
Ivory Coast
Wood carving