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Elegant Canoe-Form Sago Bowl

$1,200.00

Mentawai Island, West Sumatra, Indonesia
Mid 20th Century
3” x26” x 31”

 

Fashioned by hand from a single piece of local hardwood, this oval wooden tray was used to present food and fruits when receiving guests. This particular tray retains its raw texture, and has a deeper profile than most. This style and shape of tray is peculiar to the Mentawaii grouping of islands off the west coast of Sumatra. Villages in Mentawai are traditionally located deep in the forest along rivers, and life revolves around hunting, gathering and the trade of forest products.The Siberut Mentawai subsist primarily on starch extracted from sago palm. They also cultivate taro, cassava, and an assortment of fruit trees, including durian, mangos, coconuts, bananas, and rambutan. They raise pigs and chickens, as well as ducks, geese, cows, and buffalo, although animal domesticates aside from pigs and chickens are recent introductions and, with the exception of ducks, very rare. The Mentawai supplement their diet with foraged foods, such as primates, wild pigs, and freshwater fish. Market foods, especially rice, noodles, and sugar, are ubiquitous on the island and highly preferred.

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