Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lega or Boa peoples, ca. early 20th century CE. A fine ritual spoon incorporated into various practices of the local Bwami society, hand-carved from the knee bone of an elephant. The spoon has a concave scoop of an ovoid profile, a carinated midsection with a small lower groove, and an openwork, teardrop-shaped handle incised with eight small circles. Spoons like this example were brought out during the final phases of the Bwami society initiation ceremony and were meant to represent the spiritual and personal beliefs held by the Bwami. Size: 1.9" W x 8.55" H (4.8 cm x 21.7 cm); 9.25" H (23.5 cm) on included custom stand.
For a stylistically-similar example, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 1978.412.704: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/311150
Provenance: ex-private R. Fiser collection, USA, acquired in the 1970s
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Minor abrasions and nicks to scoop, midsection, handle, and verso, with light fading to circular motifs, and normal ossification and some yellowing to natural bone coloration as expected, otherwise intact and very good. Light earthen deposits throughout.