Rare Woodlands Abstracted Owl Effigy Ladle

Circa: 1800
Size: 6 1/2" (oal)
I’ve written two books with chapters discussing effigy ladles and seen hundreds—I’ve only seen maybe a 1/2 dozen owl effigy ladles. In Woodlands culture owls are symbolic of a being that can travel between worlds and be a protector, and can also be a symbol of death. It depends on the context.

My love of Woodlands sculpture is their ability and interest in capturing a subject by means of an economy of line. They look to capture the essence of an animal by editing…not by adding more detail.

Peter Brams (who had the greatest collection of ladles ever assembled) had four great owl ladles. One more reductive than the next…but obviously carved as owls … it was having this one in context of the others that this too is clearly an abstracted owl.

The highly reductive form makes it very modern, and something one could imagine Brancusi would have done, but well over 100 years before it’s time.

Provenance: Trotta-Bono; Peter Brams; Keno Auctions - The Peter Brams Collection of Important Woodlands Indian Art; Private Santa Fe Collection.

Condition: Excellent with fine patination and great tigering figure in the bowl.

Price: SOLD