Bulul Figure

About this object

History of use

The Bulul protect the production of rice, the most important component of the Ifugao diet. The figures are carved by specialists who are usually from the kin group of the patron. Ceremonies accompany each stage of production. The first seeks the approval of deities in the choice of wood, which is taken from the narra tree. The “entrance” ceremony takes place when the roughed-out carving is carried into the owner’s house, where it is finished. Carving is done during the day, with the nights devoted to dancing and eating. Once the Bulul is completed, the myth relating to its origin is recited, and past powers bestowed are transferred to the present. The Bulul is bathed in pig’s blood, then put in the rice granary. After a month or so, rice cakes are placed at the Bulul’s feet. At harvest time, he and other deities are invoked by priests and urged to join the festivities. The figures are believed to make rice grains multiply and to guard the harvest from vermin and thieves.

Physical description

A wood figure of a man carved with his hair in a bun at the top and sitting on a base with his arms folded over his knees.