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Kutyapi/ Two-Stringed Lute



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Language Group


Artist Collective

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Geographical Setting

Lanao del Sur



Making Classification


Making Sub Classification

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Anthropological Class

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Museological Class

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Museological Sub Class

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Good and stable




182.00 x 10.00 x 19.00 cm

Artist Statement

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Casino, Eric S. " Ats & Peoples of the Southern Philippines." (In Casal, et.al The People & Art of the Philippines. Los Angeles: University of California, 1981), p. 165


The two-stringed lute, called kutiapi in numerous languages of the Philippine archipelago, is most elaborated as a sculptural form in the Maranao version. This example clearly references a crocodile, a mythological figure of immense significance in island Southeast Asian mythology. (It should be noted that while the Maranao crocodile reference is overt, in nearly all other ethnolinguistic groups, the kudyapi abstractly references either the crocodile or boat.) The carving and incising processes used to create this kutyapi are a balance between full sculptural massing and shallow, drawing-like cuts into the wood. The balance and interaction between macro and micro work produced an object of great formal integrity. Crocodile imagery in the traditional iconography of the region obliged the makers to be deeply respectful of the powers evoked by the object.


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