African, Dan peoples, Liberia / Cote d'Ivoire
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Liberia / Ivory Coast


Overall: 35.3 x 7 x 4 cm (13 7/8 x 2 3/4 x 1 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


Decorative arts

This spoon, which ends in a graceful animal head, once belonged to a Dan woman who contributed food to feasts organized by the villagers. This object is an excellent example of changing tastes of collectors in mid 20th century, as objects once considered craft or artifact before World War II gained appreciation for their aesthetic qualities. African merchants were well aware of collectors’ changing tastes and brought these utilitarian objects to Europe and the United States, while artists stepped up production.


Late 1960s, sold by an unidentified African merchant, Cambridge, MA, to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart