Skip to main content »
Igorotage

Ifugao Bulul Statue Sold for a Record-breaking P36.1-M in a Paris Auction

A "bulul" or carved wooden figure from Ifugao was sold for a record-breaking 630,000 euros or about P36.1 million at an auction in Paris, France.

 |  2 min read

A "bulul" or carved wooden figure from Ifugao was sold for 630,000 euros or about P36.1 million at an auction in Paris, France.

A "bulul" or carved wooden figure from Ifugao was bought for a record-breaking 630,000 euros or about P36.1 million at a French auction last Friday (Philippines time).

The "bulul", initially estimated between 200,000 to 300,000 euros (P11.4 million to P17.2 million), was among the items auctioned from the collection of Béatrice and Patrick Caput, at an event in Paris hosted by Christie's, the world-renowned art and luxury business founded in 1766.

The provenance, or its history of ownership or origin, is one of the factors that determine the value of an item at auctions; this is the reason for the high price of said "bulul".

According to Christie's listing, the earliest known owner of the bulul in 1918 was William Gabuk Beyer. He is the son of Henrey Otley Beyer, who has been called the "Father of Philippine Anthropology."

The bulul was then obtained by Alain Schoffel in Paris in 1970, and then by Béatrice and Patrick Caput also in the French capital in 1989.

Christie's appraisal of the bulul describes it as "a masterpiece of Ifugao art" that "dazzles by the universality of its form."

"Thanks to its purified aspect, we can see as many possible links with the great statuary of the past as with that of the present. Notably, thanks to its intrinsic geometry, it is possible to evoke a kinship with some of the oldest anthropomorphic representations, such as certain plastic creations of the Neolithic or Cycladic art. At the same time, by reducing and simplifying the anthropomorphic representation as much as possible, the artist has created an abstract interpretation of the human figure, giving it a powerful serenity. In the case of this formidable sculpture, it is its great plastic quality and in particular its formal ambiguity - its archaism and its modernity - that convey an indisputable timelessness," it said.

The Bulul is an Ifugao anthropomorphic carving that symbolizes an Ifugao rice god or guardian spirits. It also signifies fertility and is sometimes believed to house the spirits of ancestors.

Although bululs are now produced and sold as a variety of souvenir items or decorative art, it is a fundamental part of Ifugao culture. Bulul plays an important role in the agriculture of the Ifugao people. It is involved in the ritualistic aspects of rice production, from rice planting to the safekeeping of the harvest in rice granaries. The sculpture is made mainly as a guardian of a rice granary. The process of creating a bulul includes the baki or a ritual by the mumbaki or priest to ensure its power. Careful selection of the wood is made and it is consecrated with pig's blood.


Sharing is caring, kailian!

We do hope you find something great in this story. If you find this helpful, please do share it with the people you care about.


Igorotage is a platform for people to share their thoughts and ideas. The views expressed on Igorotage are the opinions of the individual users, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Igorotage.

Comments

Sign in to share your thoughts. No account yet?

What to learn next?

You might also like to read more related articles filed under Traditional Arts and Crafts — or jump to a random article!

Traditional Arts and Crafts Surprise me

Bulul: The Ifugao's Rice God or Guardian Spirit

The Bulul is an Ifugao anthropomorphic carving that symbolizes an Ifugao rice god or guardian spirits.

Apr 22, 2019 · 2 min read

Origin of Bulul: The Story of Namtogan

The origin of the bulul wooden figures can be traced to the story of Namtogan, an important myth passed orally and recited by mumbaki during rituals.

Apr 22, 2019 · 2 min read

The Ifugao Bulul: A Sacred Sculpture of the Ifugao People

Discover the rich history and cultural importance of Ifugao Bululs. Explore their symbolism and role in Ifugao society.

Sep 2, 2023 · 22 min read

The Ifugao Baki and Mumbaki

ONE thing that can be considered patently Cordilleran, particularly of the Ifugaos, is the baki.

May 23, 2019 · 4 min read

Igorot Actor Roxie Smith Nominated Promising Female Star | 5th VP Choice Awards

Igorot actor and Miss Earth 2020 first runner-up, Roxie Smith, nominated for Promising Female Star of the Year at the 5th Village Pipol Choice Award.

Jan 24 · 3 min read

Batok: Igorot Tattoos in the Cordillera

Explore the rich heritage of Igorot tattoos in the Cordillera region. From Batok to cultural inscriptions, discover the art's profound meanings.

Cordillera Population: 10 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know

Discover 10 surprising facts about the Cordillera Administrative Region's population revealed by the 2020 Census.

Dec 13, 2023 · 4 min read

Man Steals Women's Underwear Every Time He Gets Drunk

Man arrested for stealing underwear while drunk. Sacks of women's panties found at his place.

Nov 28, 2023 · 2 min read

Liver Lover Boy: Fugitive Who Ate Victims' Liver Captured after 9 years

Justice is served as Liver Lover Boy, a fugitive with a history of consuming his victims' liver as "pulutan," is finally caught by authorities.

Oct 28, 2023 · 2 min read

Tomlinson Stone Hagabi in Ifugao Bids to be National Treasure

Ifugao's Tomlinson Stone Hagabi, a century-old ceremonial bench carved from a single stone, is vying for declaration as a National Treasure.

Sep 14, 2023 · 2 min read