Rare Carved Wooden Ladle or Dipper Kalanguya People, Southern Ifugao, Philippines early 20th century
This dipper or ladle comprises half a coconut shell that serves as the bowl, and a carved wooden handle. The handle is carved as two figures who appear to be (almost) involved in a sexual act (which is not uncommon among Ifugao spoons, ladles and dippers).
The item is more of a dipper than a ladle on account of its relatively deeper bowl. According to Casal et al, (1981, p. 219) ladles and dippers were used to remove food from cooking pots, and handling liquids such as water, wine and soups.
It is from the Kalanguya people, of the southern Ifugao, whose carving is more rudimentary and whimsical than the other groups of the northern Philippines who took a more formal approach to sculpture. The carving on the handle is particularly whimsical - humorous even.
A hole has been drilled through the buttocks of the top figure to allow suspension when the dipper wa snot in use.
The combination of a coconut shell with a wooden handle was once relatively common, but is seldom seen now. Few such dippers have been published.
The item is in fine condition with no splits, chips or repairs.
References: Afable, P., et al, Philippines: an Archipelago of Exchange, ACTES SUD/ Musee du Quai Branly, 2013. Casal, G. et al, The People and Art of the Philippines, UCLA Museum of Cultural History, 1981. Moltzau Anderson, E., In the Shape of Tradition: Indigenous Art of the Northern Philippines, C. Zwartenkot Art Books, 2010. pers. comm., Floy Quintos, Manila. Schoffel, A., Arts Primitifs de l'Asie du Sud-Est (Assam, Sumatra, Borneo, Philippines): Collection Alain Schoffel, Alain et Francoise Chaffin, 1981.