Seated Bulul, Ifugao, Philippines

Seated Bulul with Exceptional Patina
Ifugao, Philippines
Wood
19th/very early 20th Century 
Ex Collection Tadashi Morita, Tokyo
17 in (43 cm)

This “rice god” bulul features a classical architecture of style and displays a “telephone” or “spoon” patina. Such a surface is rare on a bulul, because under normal circumstances, rice gods have a crusty blood sacrifice and soot patina. This sculpture was touched so extensively that it developed a fabulous natural polish, with no wax applied. This makes me wonder if the figure could have been “captured” from the Ifugao by the Kankanay as sometimes happened on a headhunting raid and used as a house guardian, tinatagu, “babysitter” figure and thereby developed this patina. Or was it collected by a Japanese soldier during the War and brought back for 70 years of handling in Japan? In any case, the piece and surface are genuine and of significant interest.

$15,000