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  • Writer's pictureMenchie Kinao

Ifugao ‘Bulul’ carving sold at a Paris auction for P36.1M


Ifugao, Philippines – A carved wooden figure known as Ifugao “bulul” was sold at a French auction for 630,000 euros or P36.1 million on Friday, October 21.


The statue measuring 31 inches was among the 34 items from all over the world auctioned from the collection of Béatrice and Patrick Caput in the event hosted by Christie’s, the world-renowned art and luxury business founded in 1766.


Initially, the value of the bulul was estimated between 200,000 to 300,000 euros or P11.4 million to P17.2 million but fetched 630,000 euros at the end of the auction.

It was said that the history of the item’s ownership is among the factors considered in determining its value.


As stated in Christie’s website, the earliest known owner of the bulul in 1918 is William Gambuk Beyer, the son of the “Father of Philippine Anthropology,” Henry Otley Beyer.


In 1970, the figure was acquired by Alain Schoffel in Paris, and then by Béatrice and Patrick Caput also in the French capital in 1989.


The bulul was later exhibited at Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac in Paris in 2013.

Christie’s described the item as “a masterpiece of Ifugao art” which “dazzles by the universality of its form.”


Ifugaos regarded the bululs as “rice gods” that protect their rice field. Also, they are said to bring good luck.


“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,” Christie’s listings stated.

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