So-called “Cannibal” Icula Fork with a Zoomorphic effigy
Viti Levu Island, the Fidji Islands, South Pacific, Oceania.
Late 19th century.
Height: 8 cm; Length: 30 cm
Wooden fork with four teeth, including two which are particularly long and slender. The handle is entirely incised with zigzag motifs in friezes. The extremity is carved with the head of a flying fox, depicted with short and pointy ears and a thin muzzle. The eyes are formed by two cupulas, drawn on each side of the ridge which runs until the nostrils.
Its particular form allowed to prick meat and to bring the food to the mouth, without entering in contact with the hands, nor the lips.
These forks were reserved for high ranked individuals like Bete chiefs or priests. In fact, these were the only entities considered as the representatives of ancestral divinities on earth. Once having served and having been in contact with one of those individuals, the utensil was be considered as a relic and was kept in the Bure Kalou, the house of the spirits.
The forks destined to priests were named Bulutoko. According to Steven Hooper, they are also named Icula or Isaga, or even iCula ni Bokola. This sentence can be translated by “fork of human victims”. However, this meat exclusivity remains controversial.
Former Lillian and Leo Fortess Collection, Honolulu. Listed under the number 169G.
Former Esther and Eric Fortess Collection, Boston.
The annotations mentioned on the object’s labels:
Recto: Cannibal fork “Bulutoko” IZ Long Fidji, Polynesia.
Verso: C.F. A.S.C. Oceanic Art Anthony J.P. MEYER, page 466.
Recto: Cannibal fork “Bulutoko” Old Fiji
Verso: #2161 Karl Eric Larsson (Fidjian studieren) Stockholm, Sweden thought it fine old work.
- FORK chamado "CANNIBALE"
- Nome do objeto indígena
- Grupo étnico / cultura
- ilha de Viti Levu
- Final do século XIX
- Vendido com suporte
- 8×30×0 cm