College of Communications and Fine Arts Art Museum of the University of Memphis
Model Ceremonial Rice Spoon (20th Century) Dan People attributed, Ivory Coast, Africa Bone or ivory, hand carved and stained Gift of Martha and Robert Fogelman AMUM 2008.002.162



This piece, probably a tourist object, may be a model of a Dan ceremonial rice spoon, called wake mia or wunkirmian, which roughly translates as 'feast acting spoon'. The original spoons are 1-2 foot long and were made only for women, specifically for the wa ke de or 'at feasts acting woman'. She was the most hospitable woman of her village, recognized for her generosity, hospitality, and farming skill. The spoons have one or (rarely) two parallel bowls. The carved handles depict unique individual characteristics to distinguish the owner.

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Last Updated: 11/30/12