Pierre Nachbaur

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RARE IFUGAO BULUL

Northern Luzon, Philippines / 50 cm

Buluul are deities associated with the paddy harvest by the Ifugao people of Northern Luzon, Philippines. The term buulul means ‘rice-god figure with a resident spirit’, that is why they are usually kept in the rice granary. Basically they are guardians of the paddy crop and they are also credited of increasing miraculously the rice in the granary. They are made in pairs — male and female, the most common — or also in single figures, there can be several bulul in one Ifugao granary. At harvest ceremonies taking place in the house in the village/hamlet, the bulul deities, other spirits and ancestors’ spirits are invited by the mumbaki priests to join the festivities, and partake of rice beer. At the same time they are supposed to make continue the groth of paddy in the fields. Pig sacrifices are given to the bulul and the figures are bathed in the pig’s blood at this occasion.This standing figure — bulul are represented either in squatting or standing positions — is finely carved, it shows the characteristic faceted aspect of Ifugao carving, especially in the face and pedestal. The brown reddish wood, showing a light patina, has not been completly covered by the blood’s offerings, it is mostly the pedestal, which presents a blood crust. The face is treated in a sober, stylized, manner. Its stare is accentuated by the white beads figuring the eyes nailed to the face.The style of the piece is roughly between those of Mayaoyao and Batad, about East of the central Ifugao area (Banawe), as the treatment of the face, arms and legs indicates.

Provenance: Alain Schoffel, collected at the end of the 70's