FORK Icula called "CANNIBALE" with ZOOMORPHIC effigy
Î lede Viti Levu, Î lesFidji, South Pacific, Oceania
End of the 19th century
H .: 8 cm; length: 30 cm
Wooden fork with four tines, two of which are particularly long and tapered. Its handle is entirely incised with zigzag patterns included in registers. Its end is carved with a dog's head with short, pointed ears and a thin muzzle. Its eyes are two cups drawn on either side of the ridge going down to the nostrils.
Its particular shape made it possible to prick the meat and bring the food into the mouth without them having contact with either the hands or the lips.
These forks were reserved for high-ranking individuals such as chiefs and bete priests. Indeed, they were the only entities to be considered the representatives of ancestral deities on earth. Once having served and been in contact with one of these individuals, the utensil was considered to be a relic and had to be kept in the Bure Kalou , the house of the spirits.
The forks intended for priests bore the name Bulutoko . They are also called Icula or Isaga or, according to Steven Hooper, iCula ni Bokola. Formula translatable by "human victim fork". This meat exclusivity remains controversial, however.
- Former Lillian and Leo Fortess collection, Honolulu. Listed under number 169G.
- Former collection of Esther and Eric Fortess, Boston.
- Annotations mentioned on the labels accompanying the object:
- Front: Cannibal fork “Bulutoko” IZ Long Fidji, Polynesia.
- Back: CFASC Oceanic Art Anthony JP MEYER, page 466.
- Front: Cannibal fork “Bulutoko” Old Fiji
- Back: # 2161 Karl Eric Larsson (Fidjian studieren) Stockholm, Sweden thought it fine old work.
Text and photos © FCP CORIDON