Southeast Asia, Philippines, Luzon region, Ifugao province, ca. first half of the 20th century CE. A hand-carved wooden male rice deity figure known as a bulul (also bul-ul or tinagtaggu). The figure sits with legs drawn closely to the slender body, bent arms resting atop the knees, and sloped shoulders are hunched slightly forward. The enlarged head bears a minimalist countenance with petite impressed eyes flanking a broad nose, a pursed mouth above a sharp jawline, and tab-shaped ears, all beneath a rounded top. Dark-brown earthen pigment covers the figure and integral tiered base, and smooth patina has formed in some areas. Bulul are highly stylized ancestral effigies that are meant to spiritually guard important crops like rice. Size: 4.8" W x 14.6" H (12.2 cm x 37.1 cm)
For a stylistically similar example, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 1992.224.
Provenance: private Nevada, USA collection
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Repair to one arm with small chips and light adhesive residue along break lines. Nicks and abrasions to base, limbs, body, and head, with several stable fissures, fading to original pigmentation, and inactive insect wear/loss. Smooth patina in some areas, and light earthen deposits throughout.