Intertwined Lizards Natangura Nut Carving
This is an intricate custom carving by Vanuatuan artist, Tony Bruce. Two intertwined lizards have been carved into the Natangura nut which is about the size of a golf ball. Using small chisels and a coping saw, Bruce creates highly detailed miniature carvings. Bruce has a particular interest in marine life, amphibians and focuses on their movement.
Palm-nut, also referred to as Natangura, corozo, tagua, or vegetable ivory, can be carved like elephant ivory when dried out. The kernels are typically harvested after the ripe fruit has detached from the tree and fallen to the ground. Carving palm nuts is a tradition found in numerous cultures around the globe, all the way from Panama to Japan.
Born in 1979 in Santo Island, Vanuatu, Tony Bruce was taught traditional wood carving by his cousins, and with promising talent, he began creating elaborate miniature carvings out of palm-nut before his twentieth birthday. At the age of 16, Bruce started to learn sculpture on wood with his uncle. In 2000, Bruce noticed the different uses of Natangura nut and discovered he can work on this very original natural material, where he can see a lot of animals, plants, people, all intertwined in legendary manners. He now lives for his art and sometimes teaches young people the skills he has acquired.
- Natangura nut, red cedar base
- Carving: 1 ¼" x 1 ¼"
- Base: 2" diameter, ¾" height
- Natagura nuts pictured in background not included
For an interesting comparison for the objects in the MOA Shop and objects in the collection, compare Bruce's work to a Japanese palm nut carving (Ed5.3188) found in Case 79, Drawer 1 in the Multiversity Galleries.
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