6646

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Baule Cast Brass ‘Prestige’ Spoon

Baule People, Ivory Coast
19th-early 20th century

length: 14.6cm, width: 5.9cm, weight: 284g

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Provenance

UK art market

This cast brass spoon is very much in keeping with the tradition of West African brass casting, an oeuvre which included gold dust and other weights.

The spoon here has a humanoid handle. The figure has an elongated head and a narrow beard from the chin, both of which are characteristic of Baule figurative depictions.

The back of the spoon bowl is decorated with four intersecting lines which terminate with cast spirals, against a ground that is incised with waves.

Traditionally, the Baule ate with their hands. Regional chiefs, however, had spoons carved from wood to enhance their prestige. It is likely that the spoon here was cast for similar reasons.

The spoon has pleasing wear and a golden patina.

References

Boyer, A. M., Visions of Africa: Baule, 5 Continents, 2008.

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