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Unknown Maker
Feast Spoon (Wa ke mia or Wunkirmian) Feast Spoon (Wa ke mia or Wunkirmian)
20th century 20th century

Known as a wa ke mia or wunkirmian (¿spoon associated with feasts¿), this impressive spoon would have been owned by a Dan woman who was deemed by her peers to be the most generous and hospitable female of her lineage. She might have inherited the spoon from her predecessor or commissioned it to honour a spirit that appeared to her in a dream.

Imbued with the spiritual, spoons are considered to be the female equivalent of Dan masks. Owners displayed the spoons in their homes and brought them out for special occasions. Feasts associated with celebrations and masquerades held particular importance, as the community, visitors and masquerade spirits needed to be welcomed and fed. A spoon¿s owner was the chief hostess of such feasts, and proclaimed her role and status by carrying the wa ke mia throughout the village. Spoons were also carried at festivals where many owners competed for the honour of being proclaimed most generous.

Feast spoons are traditionally oversized, alluding to their owners¿ generosity and making them easily visible to the community as they were used and carried. The Lang spoon features a characteristic hollowed scoop called ¿pregnant with rice belly,¿ which calls to mind the womb, and a handle in the shape of a woman¿s head. Wa ke mia handles can also take the form of a woman¿s hips and legs. The forms and associated meanings forcefully emphasize the role of women as sources of life and nourishment.

 
Unknown Maker
Dan peoples Dan peoples
Feast Spoon (Wa ke mia or Wunkirmian) Feast Spoon (Wa ke mia or Wunkirmian)
20th century 20th century
wood wood
height / width / depth: 91.00 x 20.50 x 11.50 cm; 35.83 x 8.07 x 4.53 in.
Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984 Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984
M84-109

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